The Lord has an oracle of indictment against the rich women of Israel who “oppress the poor” and “crush the needy.” They were “cows of Bashan” who said to their husbands, “Bring, that we may drink!” God would take them away to exile “with fishhooks.”
The leading ladies of Samaria were typical of the Lord’s depraved people. They liked to combine their acts of religion with their rebellion against the Almighty. Though they might seem to be spiritual giants and encouraged others to join them at all the great places of worship, they journeyed to holy cities like “Bethel” and “Gilgal” only to “transgress.” Like so many showy followers of Jehovah throughout the centuries, they wanted everyone to see their “tithes” and their “freewill offerings,” but everything they brought to God was “leavened” with sin. “For so you love to do, O people of Israel.”
The Lord had disciplined them over many years, but to no avail. He sent His afflicting providences that brought trouble upon their crops and their health, “yet you do not return to Me.” What was the Lord to do with those who simply would not repent?
He would send them far away into exile. Their life of pleasure and ease would be over. Those who had heretofore survived difficult times might soon face the end of their days. Up to this moment they had been like “a brand plucked out of the burning,” but now their time of reckoning was surely coming. “Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”
Who was this Divine Being who would soon judge them? He was the God who “forms the mountains” and “creates the wind.” He knew what was in the heart of a man or a woman even when they deceived themselves so persuasively. He was, and continues to be, the Great I-AM, “the Lord, the God of hosts.” To stand before Him without an atoning sacrifice should be any rational person’s greatest fear, but now Jesus has made a way for us to safely call upon God as our beloved Father.
We have been reconciled with the God of eternity through the work of His Son. Rescued from death and hell through the I-AM who lived and died for us, perfect love will surely cast away all our fears (1 John 4:18). “Prepare to meet your God!” Absolutely, but because of Jesus these words express our highest hopes and not our worst terror, for we are sons and daughters of God through Jesus Christ our Lord, and “we will see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2)
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Glorious Lord, where is the righteous woman who gives herself completely to Your service? Are all given over to base pleasures and lazy living? Thank You for Your correction of us even through suffering. How could we be so insensitive to Your acts of discipline? We are very slow to return to You. Will it be necessary for You to remove the lampstand of Your church in many lands? You are the Lord of Hosts. You know what is right and good, and You will accomplish Your glorious plan. Save us, O God!