Can an Ox Plow the Sea?
Amos holds up an absurd thought. How could you plow the sea with an ox? Anyone, even today, recognizes the futility of that concept. It isn't physically possible and anyone thinking they might give it a shot is so wrong, on so many levels, that instead of ridiculing someone attemtping the same, we would simply shake our heads, wonder who their relatives are who should be caring for them and turn away lamenting the state of mental health care in today's world. Oh, and we would feel sorry for the ox.
Too often, we insist on plowing the sea when we turn away from union with God's will and justice. We plow the sea when we use our power capriciously, as does Herod when he orders that John the Baptist's head be brought to his daughter when his impulsiveness trips over his pride and desire to see his own face. In that case, a prophet's head is forfeit. In Amos, the people of God continue to bring down harsh judgment, because they continually and consistently turn from pursuing God's justice. Jesus models what it is like to live IN God's will when he insists that the hungry be fed in the wilderness, and yet the disciples demonstrate that they haven't digested that feast by showing a lack of faith in the face of a storm during their transit in the boat. If God in Christ is to be believed, when that is exactly when our faith and trust in God should be at their highest volume.
It's when we insist that we can do it on our own, when we are bound by certainty and not by faith, that we insist that the sea can be plowed; whether it be with an ox, or by our own stubborn hand.