-The “cows of Bashan” refer to luxurious-wealthy women in Samaria who were pampered, sleek, and well-feed to the detriment of the poor and needy (Psalm 22:12). God’s judgment was pronounced on them for their misconduct and exorbitant living. *Application* God says true and undefiled religion is to visit and care for the orphans, the widows, the poor, and stay unstained from the world (Leviticus 19:10, Deuteronomy 15:4, 7, Proverbs 14:21 James 1:27). Remember the less fortunate around you. God cares for them as much as He does you. When you have opportunity, do not neglect to give out of your abundance.
-Amos uses sarcasm in verses four and five as he invites them to enter Bethel (the place God had renewed His covenant with Abraham to Jacob, Genesis 28:10-22) and Gilgal (Israel’s first camp ground in the Promised Land under Joshua where he had renewed to covenant and the rite of circumcision, they celebrated Passover once again and the manna ceased here at this place, Joshua 4:19-5:12) to transgress and multiply transgression. Amos mockingly taunts them to bring in righteous acts to these places knowing that in reality they were worshipping idols instead of the One-True Living God in these sacred places. Jeroboam had placed an idol in Bethel to discourage the people from traveling to Jerusalem in the southern kingdom to worship (1 Kings 12:26-29). He is angry because of their unfaithfulness in going astray from keeping covenant (Amos 3:3). *Application* the LORD sees and knows all of our mischief and eventually calls us into account. Remain true, loyal, and steadfast to His promise by faith.
-There are five things the LORD sent in an effort to have His people return to Him in verses six through eleven, yet they were hard hearted and would not do it. He sent famine, lack of rain, scorching wind and mildew, plagues, and overthrew them, but they remained stubborn and did not repent before the LORD. *Application* Again we see the warning and disciplining nature of God in these passages for the purpose of correction and Godly living. He had no pleasure in this, but it was futile in bringing back His people into right relationship with Him (Ezekiel 33:11). *Application* I see America in very much the same ordeal as Israel during this time. We have been warned and disciplined over and over, yet we do not get it. We are going headlong against the ways of the Almighty God with our laws and personal practices. We are luxuriant and care only for ourselves more and more. I fear for our future if we don’t turn back to God as a nation. His patience is limited, and He cannot bless sin forever.
-God’s proclamation in verse twelve is powerful, “Prepare to meet your God, O Israel.” This should be awe inspiring and draw them back to Him. However, they will reject the opportunity and sink further into depravity.
-God’s creative abilities and power are on display in the final verse of the chapter; again to impress the people as to whom they are dealing with in regards to the LORD. He can read man’s thoughts and is sovereign over the entire earth. He knows the heart and will not be overtaken by anyone or anything. *Application* Meditate on the qualities of God given in this verse. Take some time today to reflect on His power and worship His majesty. Observe creation and give Him glory. Watch the sunset and know that the LORD Himself has done it. He is in control and He has revealed Himself to us knowing our every thought and plea. Worship Him alone!
Verse to Memorize: Amos 4:13