A Famine In The Land

According to the 2017 Legatum Prosperity Index, Canada was listed among the top 10 most prosperous nations in the world. When we hear the word “famine,” it is about other nations, not our own. Yet, there is a serious famine in our country, and most are oblivious to it.

Amos 8:11 reads, “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.”

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JONAH

We know very little about Jonah. He is identified as the son of Amittai (1:1). 2 Kings 14:25 says Jonah was from Gath Hepher, which is in Zebulun. We do not know if he simply lived there or was of the tribe. In the same text, Jonah is credited with foretelling the restoration of a piece of land to Israel in the days of Jeroboam, which no doubt was a more popular prophecy than the doom and gloom and judgment spoken by his contemporaries (Amos & Hosea). 

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OBADIAH

The name Obadiah means “servant of the LORD.” It is a fairly common name in the Bible with eight distinct men by that name in the Old Testament (1 Chronicles 7:3; 8:38; 9:16; 12:9; 27:19; 2 Chronicles 17:7; 1 Kings 18:3; Obadiah 1:1). We know very little about any of them men, the prophet included, but from what we do know, the name is an apt description for most of them.

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AMOS

Amos said of himself, “I am no prophet, nor was I a son of a prophet, but I was a sheepbreeder and a tender of sycamore fruit” (7:14). He was from the village of Tekoa (1:1) just south of Jerusalem. Though he was from the southern kingdom, God called him to prophesy to Israel in the north. He began to prophesy two years before an earthquake (also mentioned in Zechariah 14:5), in the reign of Uzziah king of Judah and Jeroboam king of Israel.

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JOEL

We know very little about the prophet Joel. He is identified as the son of Pethuel (1:1), but there is no mention of this man elsewhere in Scripture. Joel’s name is from the Hebrew Yow’el, combining the prefix of both Jehovah and Elohim and simply means “Jehovah is God.”

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HOSEA

Hosea was a contemporary of Isaiah and Micah, prophesying from about 750-725 BC. His messages were primarily for the northern tribes who would be destroyed by the Assyrians in 721 BC. The people of Israel had demonstrated they were beyond turning back to the Lord, they were a nation ready to be eradicated. Though the northern kingdom was his initial audience, he also spent time speaking to Judah.

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DANIEL

Daniel is the fourth of the major prophets. He was among those who were carried away to Babylon. Daniel’s name means “God is my judge.” He was an exceptional example of faith throughout his life (1:8; 6:10), and his faithfulness was rewarded with responsibility and authority, despite being an exile in the land of Babylon. He was brought to Babylon to serve in the king’s court (1:3-5, 19) and found himself promoted after interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (2:48). He was also appointed as a governor by Darius after the fall of the Chaldeans (6:2-3).

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EZEKIEL

Ezekiel is the third of the major prophets. He was of the tribe of Levi and served as a priest among God’s people in the land of the Chaldeans (1:3). Ezekiel was carried away to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 when King Jehoiachin was taken captive (1:1-2). The LORD refers to the prophet as “son of man” throughout the book of Ezekiel.

Ezekiel gives many time stamps throughout his writing. His typical manner of dating is to give the year of his captivity, the month, and the day of the month on which the event or the revelation occurred (1:1-2; 4:6; 8:1; 20:1; 24:1; 26:1; 29:1, 17; 30:20; 31:1; 32:1, 17; 33:21; 40:1; 46:13, 17).

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JEREMIAH & LAMENTATIONS

Jeremiah spent over 40 years as a prophet of God. He began in the 13th year of Josiah (1:2) and continued until after Gedaliah was appointed governor over Judah (40:5). His work spanned the reigns of five kings in Judah (Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah). The work of at least five other prophets (Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Joel, Daniel, and Ezekiel) intersected the work of Jeremiah.

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ISAIAH

Isaiah is the first of the four major prophets in the Bible. The timeframe for Isaiah is given in 1:1, “…in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.” He wrote and prophesied from 740-681 BC. The northern tribes were destroyed by Assyria about half way into Isaiah’s tenure.

Isaiah was the son of Amoz (1:1, 2:1; 13:1; 20:2; 37:2, 21; 38:1). Tradition says he was of the tribe of Judah, though Scripture is silent on his tribe. He was married. We do not know his wife’s name, but she is identified as a prophetess (8:3). He had two sons: Shear-Jashub (7:3), meaning “a remnant shall return,” and Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (8:1), meaning “swift is the booty, speedy is the prey.”

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