“Hear this word, you [well-fed, pampered] cows (women of Bashan who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor who crush the needy, who say to their husbands, ‘Bring [the wine] now, and let us drink!’ ” (Amos 4:1).
Zondervan’s Archaeological Study Bible explains well the brash women of Amos 4, “The well-fed cattle raised in Bashan were considered the best breed in ancient Canaan. The phrase, ‘cows of Bashan’ was therefore a harsh, but a fitting symbol of Israel’s wealthy, pampered, self-indulgent women, who maintained their lifestyles by exploiting the poor and speaking demandingly – even to their husbands’ ” (p. 1451).
Seventeenth century minister, Matthew Henry, writes in his commentary, “They were compared to the kine of Bashan, which were a breed of cattle very large and strong, especially, if bred there, they were fed upon the mountain of Samaria, where the pastures were extraordinarily fat. Amos had been a herdsman, and he speaks in a dialect of his calling, comparing the right and great men, that lived in luxury and wantonness, to the kine of Bashan, which were wanton and unruly, would not be kept within the bounds of their own pasture, but broke through the hedges, broke down the fences, and trespassed upon the neighboring grounds.
The women oppressed the poor and needy themselves, they crushed them, to squeeze something to themselves out of them. They took advantage of their poverty, and necessity, and inability to help themselves, to make them poorer and more necessitous than they were” (Matthew Henry). Why do women feel the need to trample upon each other, instead of lift one another up in encouragement?
I recently attended a Propel Conference, Women Who Lead with Christine Caine. She had amazing speakers such as Dee Ann Turner, Vice President, Enterprise Social Responsibility for Chick-fil-A. Several women in leadership roles spoke during the conference and their testimonies were inspiring. One note struck a chord with me and resonated through all of their encourage; women should not use other women for personal gain. We should be lifting each other up, not tearing each other down.
I was heartened by these testimonies, but saddened by their own experiences with women who were willing to put their character, integrity, and morality on the line for advancement. Needless to say, these Christian women rose to the top, while the “oppressive women” stalled.
I want to be the woman who is encouraging. I want to have the reputation of my fruit, which should be my merit for good works and advancement. I do not want to be known as the oppressed woman who uses others for gain, trampling and squeezing the life out of those who help me.
If you find yourself as one of the oppressive woman, I would urge you to pray. Ask the Lord why you desire to press forward in ungodly ways, then I would begin to pray for change. Change beings with repentance and accountability of past sins, then a full change of your inner self – your old way of thinking, living your life in a way that proves repentance, seeking God’s purpose for you life. A few Scriptures to lay at the cross first thing in the morning for your heart are:
Romans 12:2, “And do not conform to this world any longer, but be transformed and progressively changed by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Romans 15:5, “Now may the God who gives endurance and who supplies encouragement grant that you be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus…”
1 Thessalonians 4:8, “Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage and comfort one another and build up one another just as you are doing.”
Hebrews 3:13, “But continually encourage one another every day, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened [into settled] rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [its cleverness, delusive, glamour, and sophistication].”
I pray this has planted a seed in your heart. A seed to flourish good fruit, an abundant harvest as your reputation, and sharing with other like-minded women who need encouragement and your testimony of overcoming. Remember, God is the God of advancement. True progression comes through Him and will last with the character ready for the job at hand.