Verse 1 – When Ephraim spoke, trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.
Verse 2 – Now they sin more and more, and have made for themselves molded images, idols of their silver, according to their skill; all of its work of craftsman. They say of them, “Let the men who sacrifice kiss the calves!”
Verse 3 – Therefore they shall be like the morning cloud and like the early dew that passes away, like chaff blown off from thrashing floor and like smoke from chimney.
Verse 4 – “Yet I am the Lord your God ever since the land of Egypt, and you shall know no God but Me; for there is no savior besides Me.
Verse 5 – I knew you in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.
Verse 6 – When they had pasture, they were filled; they were filled and their heart was exalted; therefore they forgot Me.
When we forget the hardships and disappointments that we’ve been through, and how we came out of them, there is a tendency to forget to pray as much as we used to when going through. When people forget to be thankful and grateful for the things God has brought them through and given them, they have forgotten the One who controls it all. Our problems may not have been caused by our own doing, but the Lord sees all and knows just how to bring us out to take us in to a better life. Don’t ever forget where you started from.
Verse 7 – “So I will be to them like a lion; like a leopard by the road I will observe them;
Verse 8 – I will meet them like a bear deprived of her cubs; I will tear open their rib cage, and there I will devour them like a lion. The wild beast shall tear them.
Those who think that God won’t punish sin are shocked when the reality of God being a lion devouring them comes to pass. The fate of those who continually ignore and turn their backs on a loving God, is destruction.
Verse 9 – “O Israel, you are destroyed, but your help is from Me.
Verse 10 – I will be your King; where is any other, that he may save you in all your cities? And your judges to whom you said, ‘Give me a king and princes’?
Verse 11 – I gave you a king in My anger, and took him away in My wrath.
If you’ll remember back in 1 Samuel 8:4-22, God reluctantly gave Israel their first king. He warned them the problems that would come with appointing a man in the place of a king instead of Him. When Saul began to turn corrupt he died in battle by his own hand.
We are also reminded here, that sometimes we will receive what we ask for and then wish we hadn’t asked when we get it. When God firmly says no about something, stay away from it or pay the consequences.
Verse 12 – “The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is stored up.
Verse 13 – The sorrows of a woman in childbirth shall come upon him. He is an unwise son, for he should not stay long where children are born.
Verse 14 – “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes.
Although Israel was going to be punished because they refused to repent, God let them know that only He can give life to things that are dead. Only God has the power to resurrect the dead and give new life to a nation.
Verse 15 – Though he is fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come; the wind of the Lord shall come up from the wilderness. Then his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up. He shall plunder the treasury of every desirable prize.
Verse 16 – Samaria is held guilty, for she has rebelled against her God. They shall fall by the sword, their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child ripped open.
Too many people that don’t know God’s character, think that God is an uncaring violent, harsh,God. However, they need to consider all His word to understand this: God chose Israel to be His people, to represent Him. When they started adapting to other pagan religions by worshiping idols and sacrificing their own children , they had to be punished. God used other countries, nations, and kings to take away what He had so graciously given them. Sometimes we will lose what we have been given, to remind us, “We are nothing without Him!”