Willful Refusal to Return to the Lord
Verse 1 – “When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was uncovered, and the wickedness of Samaria. For they have committed fraud; the thief comes in; a band of robbers takes spoil outside.
Verse 2 – They do not consider in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness; now their own deeds have surrounded them; they are before My face.
I believe we are less likely to sin if we remember that God sees and hears everything from everybody.
Verse 3 – They make a king glad with their wickedness, and princes with their lies.
Verse 4 – “They are all adulterers. Like an oven heated by a baker – He ceases stirring like fire after kneading the dough, until it is leavened.
Verse 5 – In the day of our king princes have made him sick, inflamed with wine; he stretched out his hand with scoffers.
The wine made them do stupid things, consenting to more and more evil.
Verse 6 – They prepare their heart like an oven, while they lie in wait; their baker sleeps all night; in the morning it burns like a flaming fire.
Verse 7 – They are all hot like an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings have fallen. There is none among them who calls upon Me.
They came to power because they have killed kings. The only one they didn’t kill was Menahem, which was after the death of Jeroboam II.
Verse 8 – “Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned.
Way back, Israel had intermarried with foreign people that only knew pagan gods. After a while the Israelites began to be influenced by their practices. Be aware of who you hang out with because after a while instead of you influencing them, they will influence you.
Verse 9 – Aliens have devoured his strength, but he does not know it; yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, yet he does not know it.
Verse 10 – And the pride of Israel testifies to his face, but they do not return to the Lord their God, nor seek Him for all this.
Pride intensifies all other sins because it thinks it’s always right, always knows better, and will never admit it needs God.
Verse 11 – “Ephraim also is like a silly dove, without sense – they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.
Verse 12 – Wherever they go, I will spread My net on them; I will bring them down like birds of the air; I will chastise them according to what their congregation has heard.
Israel’s King Menahem had paid Assyria to support him. King Hoshea turned against Assyria and went to Egypt for help. Israel’s king went back and forth, allying themselves with different nations when they should have allied themselves with God.
Verse 13 – “Woe to them, for they have fled from Me! Destruction to them, because they have transgressed against Me! Though I redeem them, yet they have spoken lies against Me.
They had false prophets that were not appointed by God, telling lies by saying, “God said…,” but God didn’t say. Israel could flee from God in rebellion but they couldn’t’ outrun the destruction that was about to come on them.
Verse 14 – They did not cry out to Me with their heart when they wailed upon their beds. “They assemble together for grain and new wine, they rebel against Me;
Verse 15 – Though I discipline and strengthen their arms, yet they devise evil against Me;
Verse 16 – They return, but not to the Most High; they are like a deceitful bow. Their princes shall fall by the sword for the cursing of their tongue. This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.
Some people look everywhere for help to happiness. God is the only One who can truly make us joyful down to our very soul. He will and does meet our spiritual and physical as well as material needs. Seek Him who holds your world in His mighty hands!