2064.) Amos 4

I grew up in the rural Midwest and signs like this one were familiar sightings.

Amos 4 (NIV)

Israel Has Not Returned to God

1 Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria,
you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy
and say to your husbands, “Bring us some drinks!”

Amos wasn’t trained as a prophet, he was a simple herdsman and farmer. When he wanted to get the point across to the indulgent women of Israel, he called them fat cows. The livestock of Bashan–in the northern part of Israel, the modern-day Golan Heights–was known for being fat and healthy.

Psalm 22:12 mentions the strong bulls of Bashan; Ezekiel 39:18 mentions the large livestock, the fatlings of Bashan. It’s no exaggeration to say that Amos calls these women “fat cows.” Though it is true that the very skinny ideal of female beauty is a modern phenomenon and especially in ancient times plumpness was a valued sign of affluence, we can count on it that at no time in human history has a woman appreciated being called a fat cow

It wasn’t that these women were plump and affluent, it was that they gained their wealth and affluence by oppressing and crushing the less fortunate (or with their demands for luxuries, driving their husbands to greater injustices), and that they used their affluence in the pure, self-focused pursuit of pleasure. God saw this and promised to hold them to account.

–David Guzik

2 The Sovereign LORD has sworn by his holiness:
“The time will surely come
when you will be taken away with hooks,
the last of you with fishhooks.
3 You will each go straight out
through breaches in the wall,
and you will be cast out toward Harmon,”
declares the LORD.

God tells unrepentant Israel of their coming agony when they are conquered and exiled by the Assyrians. When the Assyrians depopulated and exiled a conquered community, they led the captives away on journeys of hundreds of miles, with the captives naked and attached together with a system of strings and fishhooks pierced through their lower lip. God would make sure they were led in this humiliating manner through the broken walls of their conquered cities. This would thoroughly humble the fat cows of Israel.

–David Guzik

4 “Go to Bethel and sin;
go to Gilgal and sin yet more.
Bring your sacrifices every morning,
your tithes every three years.
5 Burn leavened bread as a thank offering
and brag about your freewill offerings—
boast about them, you Israelites,
for this is what you love to do,”
declares the Sovereign LORD.

6 “I gave you empty stomachs in every city
and lack of bread in every town,
yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the LORD.

God describes the chastisement he has sent to them, to encourage them to repent of their sins and return to faithfulness.

7 “I also withheld rain from you
when the harvest was still three months away.
I sent rain on one town,
but withheld it from another.
One field had rain;
another had none and dried up.
8 People staggered from town to town for water
but did not get enough to drink,
yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the LORD.

9 “Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards,
destroying them with blight and mildew.

mildew on a vine leaf

Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees,
yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the LORD.

10 “I sent plagues among you
as I did to Egypt.
I killed your young men with the sword,
along with your captured horses.
I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps,
yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the LORD.

11 “I overthrew some of you
as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire,
yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the LORD.

Drought, blight, plague, war . . . nothing humbled them. Their hearts were too hard to face their own sin. I have a friend who says, “God will bring you back to himself as gently as you will allow him.” Gentle did not work with these folks!

12 “Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel,
and because I will do this to you, Israel,
prepare to meet your God.”

13 He who forms the mountains,
who creates the wind,
and who reveals his thoughts to mankind,
who turns dawn to darkness,
and treads on the heights of the earth—
the LORD God Almighty is his name.



“Meet With Me”  by Ten Shekel Shirt,  HERE,  reminds us that we are often/always preparing to meet our God.


New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Prepare (blakc and white).  http://avco.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/prepare-to-meet-god.jpg
Roy Delgado cartoon.  http://www.cartoonstock.com/lowres/rde7470l.jpg
mildew.  http://hortuscamden.com/images/plants/Mildew_on_grape_vine_leaf_.jpg
Prepare (color).   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/f1/4f/09/f14f09b6e497b82cb218afdef3e9e3e3.jpg

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