Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Eating Bonbons

and watching soap operas.

Amos 4:1–3

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 wine, let us drink!”
The Lord GOD has sworn by His holiness:
“Behold, the days shall come upon you
When He will take you away with fishhooks,
And your posterity with fishhooks.
You will go out through broken walls,
Each one straight ahead of her,
And you will be cast into Harmon,”
Says the LORD.

This passage starts out with an insult. The cows of Bashan are notably plump. Calling the Israeli women cows of Bashan implies that they’re lazy.

They oppress the poor and crush the needy, all while expecting everyone, even their husbands, to serve them wine like a butler. In the late 20th century this lifestyle was depicted as eating bonbons and watching soap operas. (Note: the Hebrew participles in these three lines are all feminine, indicating that this passage is just about women.)

It’s one thing to be blessed, it’s quite another to gain blessings by taking advantage of others. God is pleased to give His people a bountiful harvest and other blessings, but they need to follow His ways.

Instead, they make their own blessings at the expense of others. This shameful behavior offends God’s holiness. That’s why He doesn’t just punish them; He swears, by His holiness, that they will be punished.

And the imagery of their punishment is particularly degrading. Their conquerors will use hooks to drag them away. Cattle sometimes have hooks or rings through their noses to control them. The implication here is that the invading Assyrians will do this to the women of Samaria and their posterity (children).

That’s quite a fall from the lazy afternoons they’ve grown accustomed to.

The lazy bonbon-eating image is how many people visualize heaven. That’s miles from the truth.

It’s beyond this writer to speculate on the details of life in heaven, and we don’t have room here anyway, but heaven will be anything but the slothful existence many folks envision.

It will be glorious.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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