Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Refusing to Yield
“When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without. And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face. They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.” (Hosea 7:1-3)
God had set out to cure Israel’s problems, until he saw the deliberate sin of her leading tribe and the wickedness of the rulers. The government was based on falsehoods, and their policies allowed favored groups to rip off the people. The leaders simply assumed God was unaware of what they were doing. Since such corruption was allowed the people began to develop a similar attitude. This pleased the rulers, because the worse the people were, the easier it became to justify or conceal their own actions.
“They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened. In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners. For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire. They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto me.” (Hosea 7:4-7)
The nation was dabbling with other gods and religions. He uses an illustration of an oven that heats the room so hot the baker doesn’t even have time to do anything else between the time the bread is kneaded and has risen enough to bake. Lobbyists and business interests had donated so much the rulers were unaware of what was really happening and were involved with ungodly and crooked men. Like the overly hot oven, they burn and destroy those who try to do anything to control the heat or bake something. They had reached a point where nobody could control them, but apparently no one cared because they were not calling for the Lord. It reached that point because the ones who were supposed to get the benefit of the oven have gone to sleep.
“Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned. Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not. And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek him for all this.” (Hosea 7:8-10)
Ephraim, the ruling tribe had just gone along with the corruption of the others and was like a cake that had not been turned. One side was burned beyond use, while the other side was raw. They had been taken over and were controlled by people who were not interested in the country, but he didn’t even realize what was happening. When God warned them what was happening, they made no effort to change or turn to him, regardless what happened to them.
“Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria. When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard. Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me. And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me.” (Hosea 7:11-14)
Like a bunch of doves who are disturbed a person who feeds them, they flit from position to position to escape God’s presence. They don’t seem to realize it is their flight that brings them into the net. They would be safe if they would just stay where they are supposed to be. Their efforts to get away from the one who is trying to help them will result in their being injured or killed. They want the food he provides but they refuse to come to him. .
“Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against me. They return, but not to the most High: they are like a deceitful bow: their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.” (Hosea 7:15-16)
God had treated Israel like a bird with a broken wing, splinting it and caring for them until the wing healed. Some never learn to trust the person caring for them, fighting every time. As soon as they are able they return to the wild and never go back to the person who cared for them. Like that bird who returns to wild, they are often more susceptible to, and less aware of the dangers. Their decision to leave the safety and care is a source of derision to others. .
While this was written as a warning to Israel, according to I Corinthians 10:1, they were written as an example to us. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” To ignore the examples because they were not written specifically for us is foolish.