1 “Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to your husbands, ‘Bring, that we may drink!’ 2 The Lord God has sworn by his holiness that, behold, the days are coming upon you, when they shall take you away with hooks, even the last of you with fishhooks. 3 And you shall go out through the breaches, each one straight ahead; and you shall be cast out into Harmon,” declares the Lord.
Before you get offended with me over this post, let me remind you that I’m only quoting the words of the Prophet Amos! 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. WOW… that’ll get your attention, won’t it? The livestock of Bashan in the northern part of Israel–the modern-day Golan Heights–was known for being fat and healthy. 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. God saw this and promised to hold them to account.
God uses Amos to tell 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. (Guzik)
This prophetic word was given for several reasons. First, God wanted Israel to know that prosperity should be divinely given–not dishonorably grabbed! God could provide abundance for them without their mean-spirited oppression. Second, God wanted Israel to be known for justice–not the greedy, oppressive, land-grabbing people they had become. Third, He wanted to be the reason for their rejoicing. Instead, they were focused entirely upon their gluttonous and drunken living. Nothing about their current lifestyle was bringing glory to God.
We realize that this passage of scripture was specifically meant for an intended audience during a definite historical season. With that said, it certainly provides an opportunity for us to do some soul searching. With the rise of the prosperity gospel that has overtaken the church, I sometimes feel the need to check my spirit for possible abuses. I do believe that God wants to bless us. Jesus provides abundant life! However, I must also be aware of the needs of others, and how my life may benefit them. I don’t believe that God blesses us so that we can hoard the resources, and keep them for ourselves. We are blessed to be a blessing! God is most pleased with His people when we are representing His goodness to the hurting people of this world.
PRAYER: Lord, please forgive my fat cow mentality. Help me to realize that You have called me to represent Your goodness to the hurting people in my circle of influence. When I rejoice, let it not be representative of worldly in fluences. Instead, may it flow from a heart that is focused upon You. Amen!