Amos 4 has the prophet stepping across the lines of political correctness and addressing the women of his day. “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”. 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. He grabs their attention so he can deliver a picture of what is to come – punishment and judgment.
It wasn’t that these women were merely fat and affluent, it was that they gained their wealth and position by oppressing and crushing the less fortunate. God saw this and promised to hold them accountable. They are going to pay for their sin. God reminds them that He has been trying to get their attention and draw them back to Himself. But since they were not repenting, God tells this prideful land of Israel of their coming agony when they will be conquered and exiled by the Assyrians. When the Assyrians took over and removed people from a conquered city, 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. It was a humiliating way to be exiled.
God reminds them all this happens for one reason – a stubbornness and willingness to repent. God reminds them that He had tried, but “You did not return to me declares the Lord”. That’s always what God hopes for when we are in the midst of living a life of sin and disobedience. He does things to get our attention and to draw ourselves back to Him. He shines the light on our sin and gives us a chance to repent and be in right standing with Him. He always is ready to take us back, but we have to take that action. We have to be willing to humbly confess and repent and return to God.
In Amos day, the people we having non of that. They were far too ingrained in their sin and bad choices. God tells them of a number of ways He was trying to get their attention – and they couldn’t miss them as these were big and in their face. But the still chose to ignore Him. So Amos tells them to “prepare to meet your God, O Israel”! They can pretend they don’t realize what God’s up to, and try to ignore the reality of their sinful lives, but God is not leaving nor forgetting what they have done.
“For behold, He who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth—the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name! God isn’t going anywhere, and His judgment will come when the people of Israel stand before Him and have to answer for their choices. We’ll have to do the same at Judgment Day ourselves. Are you ready for that discussion with a Holy God? If not, we need to get right with Him. That is why Jesus was sent to earth – to make a way!