In many societies, women in their roles as mothers, wives, sisters, female friends, and health care workers, are deep pools of compassion and love to humanity. Women heal the world everyday through their countless small and great acts delivered with love and tenderness. When women lose this specialness, society rotten.
In the book of Amos, we see a nation where women lost their special sauce and the society rotten. First, who was Amos? He was a shepherd in the southern kingdom of Judah sent to deliver God’s last message of warning to the northern kingdom of Israel, around 700 years after they left Egypt and 800 years before Jesus.
At this time, Israel was very wealthy, as God promised in Deuteronomy 8; God also warned of judgement if they used their wealth to act wickedly. Unfortunately, the rich in Israel became wicked and vicious to the poor, in disobedience to God’s laws in Deuteronomy 15 that required the rich to share their wealth with the poor. Sadly, their wives lost their compassion and joined the gang of oppressors.
Amos 4:1-2 (Easy-to-Read Version Bible) says: “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…”
Bashan was a place on Israel’s border with well fed cows, who lived to eat. Amos harshly confronted Israel’s women ‘who oppress the poor and crush the needy’; they had lost a heart of compassion for the poor. Assyria conquered Israel 40 years after Amos and put the women in chains attached to their body with hooks.
Israel was warned over and over for more than 100 years before Amos, to change or be judged. Jonah preached to Nineveh, they repented, and were forgiven; many prophets preached to Israel, they did not repent, they became rotten. Amos was sent as a last appeal before judgement, that is why his preaching was so hot!
The world is passing through painful times at present. The few rich are getting richer, but billions of poor people are miserable. Our mothers, wives, sisters, in poor communities are exhausted by hardship, prostitution has therefore exploded around the world. In rotten times like these, God acts as a judge to push back evil.
Loving God, save the poor today, as you did in Israel in the past, Amen!