The People Deceived and Deceitful
Can you imagine the actions of Gomer when Hosea came to redeem her from the slavery she was in? “I have no need of deliverance” (Proverbs 30:20). Hosea had her best interest at heart. She was relishing her “Freedom”. His interest was Gomer and her healing. Eaten up and ensnared by pagan practices, and worship, which destroyed her relationship with God.
Remember Gomer is representative of the nation Israel, and Hosea is representative of God.
“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.” Hosea 7:1 (KJV)
The message is God’s to Israel. “I would have healed you.” His mercy was waiting to work. Even though redeemed they refuse to turn from their evil ways.
The death of Jesus on the cross was the price paid to redeem and heal all mankind, yet people persist in sin refusing to let God do a work of grace and redemption in their hearts and lives.
Because grace is rejected evil continues to work like leaven [yeast].
“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.” verse 2
Israel was continuing in sin and rebellion against God believing He would not see, He would not punish or chastise. They were dealing falsely with God. If one can be deceitful, and operate falsely with God they can, and will with their fellow man as well.
To think that we can hide our sin and disobedience from God, or to think He does not take notice is completely ludicrous. The psalmist wrote, “Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, our secret sins in the light of Thy countenance” (Psalm 90:8). Only the wicked can believe that God does not, or cannot see our sin, and does not punish it. Ezekiel heard God speak saying, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols? For they say, ‘The LORD does not see us, the LORD has forsaken the land’” (Ezekiel 8:12 NKJV Also see Psalm 10:2-11).
God does “Remember” sin. He does not turn away, but it is judged. All sin was for all time judged in God’s Son Jesus Christ. He who rejects God’s Son rejects God’s love, and can expect judgment for his/her own sin – the price is eternal.
“They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies. 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.” verses 3-7
There was a familial delight in evil deceit, debauchery and anarchy. Instead of a family or house of God delighting in holiness, and seeking Him; there was a family of deceit. Seeking to seduce and lead others away from, rather than toward the Lord God.
It even seems tha the rulers, both the religious and civil were “Glad” with the wickedness. It is quite likely that there was great financial gain through wickedness. Why else would they be “Glad”? Except for their evil indulgence.
Their passions burned within them; keeping them “Banked” until the time was right – until sin reached its height. Then, like the baker, the fires were stirred and the fires burned hot. Their lust is pictured as an hot oven. Lust is pictured as a burning fire; also in the New Testament. Paul writing to the Corinthians said, “But I say to the unmarried adn to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am [unmarried]; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Corinthians 7:8-9 NKJV).
When the time for the putrid party begins the baker [initiator] stirrs the fires, and it becomes a “Flaming fire”. Its leaping, dancing, gyrating flames alluring, inviting the masses to join in.
The ruler are bought and paid for by the wicked. They cannot rule justly. They cannot judge rightly or mercifully. The judges, the kings have fallen. Fallen to their own lusts and greed. Fallen from the way of mercy and justice. They all seek their own way. God says, “None… calleth unto Me.”
“In terms of human relationships, adultery is the ultimate act of deceit, betrayal, and treachery.” (John Traylor).
Evil became such a way of life that anarchy began to prevail. Kings died by assassination, and judges perished by same. If God pulls back his hand, his “Hedge” of protection, and lets man have his own way anarchy rules.
“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.” verse 8-10
Israel turned from the Law of God, and accepted heathen practices. It is hard for many of us to see the picture portrayed in verse eight, “A cake not turned”. The picture is like a pancake, similar to like mothers or cooks prepare everyday for children or visitors to restaurants. A pancake left unturned by its cook. It burns on one side, and is left as dough on the other. It is unfit for consumption, and the best thing to do is toss it out.
They have given themselves to evil. They lose their strength of youth without even realizing it. He has lost his power, because of turning from God to serve self, and does not even notice, that, God is no longer upon him. Sin so blinds that the direction headed, and the direction turned from cannot be seen. It is a great tragedy for the child of God to go on in sin and not realize that God’s Spirit, power and strength has departed.
Even though God continues to reach out to Israel, in pride they reject Him. Their pride is a testimony against them (5:5). We can handle it ourselves while we head to destruction. The LORD hates “A proud look” (Proverbs 6:17).
“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.” verses 11-12
Have you ever had a bird in your house, or caught in any building? It flies into the windows, the walls, ceiling, and frantically searches for a way of escape. The door can be open, but it wants its own way out. Most times you have to catch the bird, carry it to the door, and then release it. The “Silly dove” is a picture of Israel seeking her own way. Mankind seeking his own way. You seeking your own way. In order to be delivered God must capture her, and show her the way out in His hands of chastisement.
“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. 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.” verses 13-16
Again God’s heart cry for His people is shown. They flee from God to seek evil, and to their own destruction. They lie about God, and to Him. They “Lie against” God in two ways;
- By denying that Hosea’s message is from God;
- By attributing the blessings of their past to their worship of idols, and a possible third;
- By making God equal with all others.
Even though God has redeemed them they still persist in denial of God’s deliverance and power.
They are returning to ritual. Ritual has no holiness requirements. It has no power to change lives. It makes many other requirements but provides no personal relationship.
Like an archer’s bow that is not true, and curved rightly it will not hit its target, even with the best of archers. The bullseye is missed. The bullseye of God’s glory; “For all have sinned, and come short [missed the mark] of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
There are seven reasons given for the destruction of Israel [Ephraim];
- They were set in their rebellion (v. 13);
- They were set in false witness against the LORD (v. 13);
- Their insincerity in calling upon the LORD (v. 14);
- The committed apostasy in the way they sought for yields or better yields of their crops (v. 14);
- The people “devised evil” against the LORD (v. 15);
- The Israelites did not seek God (v. 16);
- The scornful speaking of the rulers of Israel (v. 16).
“Woe unto them! For they have fled from Me” Beware children of God when you are getting so close to culture, and society you begin to identify more with them than with God. When we begin to call good evil, we are in disagreement with God and in agreement with the world.
-Tim A. Blankenship