The prophet Hosea used the tribe of Ephraim as a poetic representation of the northern kingdom of Israel. The people of Israel had intermarried with foreign people and had picked up their evil ways. In Hosea’s colorful admonition, Ephraim had become “a cake not turned” Hosea 7:8 says: “Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.”
In today’s jargon, Hosea might have said that Ephraim was “half-baked.” The people were like a hotcake well-done on one side and totally uncooked on the other. Although they took advantage of the Lord’s love and goodness upon them, they did not seek Him with their heart. When they needed help, they turned to other sources of assistance (Hosea 7:10-11; 14-16). The people would not return to God because of pride. Pride keeps a person from returning to God because it acknowledges no need of help from anyone, human or divine. Pride intensifies all of our other sins because we cannot repent of any of them without first giving up our pride.
Since the people did not seek God, they aligned themselves with other nations. Israel’s King Menahem had paid Assyria to support him in power (II Kings 15:19-20); King Hoshea turned against Assyria and went to Egypt for help (II Kings 17:4). Israel’s kings went back and forth, allying themselves with different nations when they should have allied themselves with God. They had become useless to God, so He was forced to exact judgment upon them.
Jesus echoed the words of the prophet. Jesus always had gentle words for penitent sinners. However, he gave a scathing rebuke to the haughty and self-righteous who wanted to live as they pleased. He was furious at two-faced religious who talked a big talk, but turned around and exploited their followers (Matthew 23:13-30).
When we spend a lot of time with people, we can easily pick up their attitudes and begin to imitate their actions. When you work, live or play with unbelievers, beware of the influence they may have on you. Instead of drifting into bad habits, see if you can make a positive influence and point these people to the Lord. God is never soft on sin. He sent His only Son to redeem us from sin’s penalty (John 3:16). Let’s not be “a cake not turned” or “half-baked”. We cannot claim God has forgiven us and then live just as we want to. What is the only good response? It is to serve God in humility and love. This is the proper response to His grace and mercy.
People look everywhere except to God for happiness and fulfillment, pursuing possessions, activities, and relationships. In reality, only God can truly satisfy the deep longings of the soul of man. Look to heaven first and the Most High God.
May God bless you and give you peace,
Russ Vickers is the minister of the Middle Fayette Church of Christ, Fayetteville, Ga. The church building is located in the Glynn-Hood Plaza at 372 North Glynn St. across the road from La Hacienda Restaurant. They invite you come and visit them on Sunday for Bible study at 9:00 a.m. and worship at 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and Wednesday evening Bible Study at 7:00 p.m. They also offer a free of charge DVD based Bible Study at their church building. Just call to make an appointment. Visit them on the web at www.mfcoc.org for the plan of salvation and other information.