March 13, 2011

Minor Prophets XXXVII: Fat Cows

"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!” 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. You will each go straight out through breaches in the wall, and you will be cast out toward Harmon” declares the LORD." Amos 4:1-3

In Amos 4:1-3 we see a specific part of society under Amos' prophetic attack. What portion would that be?

It would be the fat cows of Bashan. The women of Samaria. Fat cows. Oh boy...I'm gonna be getting letters about this one.

The women of Samaria are in the center of this attack from Amos. The cows of Bashan which was a grassy area on the east side of the Jordon known for its fat and well groomed cows. Because of their incessant demands for comforts or luxuries of their husbands they continually oppressed and stepped on the backs of the poor to support these “cows”. The most interesting portion of these verses is the statement, “You will each go straight out through breaches in the wall, and you will be cast out toward Harmon…” There are some commentators who seem to believe that this is a reference to refuse or more specifically waste matter in the form of urine or feces and that the reference to Harmon is a reference to “compost” a “refuse pile” or “dung heap”. They will seep our through breaches in a wall like waste product flowing down to a cesspool. Yummy. (Myers 119)

In this narrative I must insist that we are closely paralleling our ancient sinful counterparts in our society so much so that it is also rampent in many marginally Christian churches. To some extent this sin has pervaded even some of our more biblically secure churches. You know the rallying cry. "We need to change to attract a large audience. We need to change with the times or we die." Image driven. More concerned with techiniques for drawing people in than winning them to Christ. Church is more often a place to show off people's "wares" not their servants mentality bred in years of prayer and relationship with Jesus.

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