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 4:1
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I don’t know why, but when I read that verse it made me think of the line from Napoleon Dynamite “Tina, you fat lard, come get some dinner!”. Either way, I cannot think of even one woman who would appreciate being called a fat lard or a cow.
To put the “cow” reference in context, let’s remember that Amos is a herdsman and that he is familiar with these animals. As you read through the book of Amos you will see quite a few similes to farm life, such as “a loaded cart” (2:13), a roaring lion (3:8), pampered cows (4:1), and a basket of fruit (8:1,2).
Well anyway, in the fourth chapter of Amos we continue the story of a wayward people who continue to please the flesh and a God who continues to warn them. He warns them through famine, drought, blight, locust, plague and war and they still ignore Him.
It might seem like Amos is picking on the woman in verse one, but I think that the point might be that God does not condemn only those who actively work to oppress the poor and crush the needy, but also any of us who benefit or have a life financed by the oppression of the poor and the crushing of the needy!
It is my guess that the pampered cows of Bashan were not out on the streets doing the dirty work, they were too lazy and entitled for that! They were bossing their husbands and servants around to do the actual oppressing and crushing!
So, the question I must ask myself is, “am I guilty”? With every product there is a cost and the constant pursuit of a lower price may cause us to utilize goods made in places where human trafficking and slavery occurs.
According to The Polaris Project (polarisproject.org), labor trafficking – human trafficking occurs in numerous industries in the U.S. and globally. In the United States, common types of labor trafficking include people forced to work in homes as domestic servants, farmworkers coerced through violence as they harvest crops, or factory workers held in inhumane conditions. Labor trafficking has also been reported in door-to-door sales crews, restaurants, construction work, carnivals, and even health and beauty services.
Amos 4 ends with these words, “Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you Israel, prepare to meet your God. 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.” (Amos 4: 12,13)
I feel like a bit of a Debbie Downer tonight as I write this, I want to just write about all the good parts of a life with God, the easy parts, the parts where we stand with other Christians and enjoy worship and pot lucks! I want to talk about the goodness of God, the kindness of God.
Several years ago, I started praying that my heart would break over the same things that God’s heart breaks over. Honestly at the time, it sounded cool, like a good Christian prayer to pray. Guess what? God answered the prayer anyway!
Tonight, my heart is heavy as I choose to advocate for the people who are oppressed and crushed, but we must not turn a blind eye to the needy and the poor, the mentally ill and the vulnerable! No one should mistake the Lord’s kindness for weakness! I must seek my God, the God who forms the mountains, the God who creates the wind, the God who turns darkness into dawn, and say Lord send me!
Who wants to go on an adventure with me? I promise it will be a game changer!
Heavenly Father, I pray for real this time, let my heart break over what breaks your heart! Send me! I pray that you protect us as we go into places where the oppressed and crushed are and use us in mighty ways, we want to be game changers! Amen