If you look back at the last verse of chapter six you'll notice that it was addressed to Judah. Since the chapter breaks are manmade, this passage of chapter seven should be considered to be addressed at Judah also. Israel was a nation created, delivered and sustained by God but the sin of man broke the nation into two pieces. God would have healed the land but the onging sin and unrepentant attitude of the people kept them from God. They were doing what was right in their own eyes and not considering that God sees their wickedness. The subtle sins that seemed so small; the common sins that everyone was doing; the 'stepping over the line but not too far' sin that seemed meaningless had become a sea of sin that engulfed their life. The sins of the people were before the face of God.
It doesn't say much for the kings and princes of that time when they were glad at the wickedness and lies. As the king goes, so go the people. Things had gotten so bad that the there were four kings assascinated during this time. Their poor leadership led the people to sin in their lawlessness and immorality and disregard for the things of God. Those sames sins created a culture where kings were assascinated. Their sin truly surrounded them and closed in around them.
With almost every line we get a clearer view of the wickedness and a picture of their hearts. Hosea paints them as adulterers hot with passion; like an oven stoked up and waiting and anticipating. The king and those closest to him more closely remembled a frat party. Their hearts were prepared like the oven of a baker it lies in wait. The coals are burning low but not out. In the same way, the dark hearts of these men were devising schemes that would stoke the fire to a full heat of their adulteress hearts. They would once again burn not to run from God and to other gods. This oven of wickedness devoured the judges and killed off their kings. It isn't much of a stretch to say none of them calls on God. They still sacrificed at the temple but they were just going through the motions, they weren't calling on God.
Flour and oil might have been the main ingredients mixed to make this cake. If the wrong incredients were used or if the cake was baked wrong, it was ruined. Israel mixed itself among peoples, seeking help from Egypt and Assyria instead of the Lord. The picture then is of this cake that went unturned. We might see this as a pancake burned on one side and raw batter on the other side. There was no balance, no evenness.
Ephraim is half baked. The strength they used to enjoy was gone and they didn't realize it. Have you ever seen an older person trying to act young and deny their age? That's what we see in verse 9; and gray haired man who doesn't realized he is gray but believes he is a young man. They were so full of pride they were blinded to their own life apart from God. Their pride became testimony against them. It kept them from the Lord; it was a separation keeping them from the Lord God.
The silly dove was a picture of ignorance and indecision. They were without sense:
- Under king Menahem (ca. 743 or 738 b.c.) Israel submitted to Assyrian suzerainty (2 Kings 15:19–20).
- Under Pekah (ca. 734 b.c.) they joined a coalition against Assyria that was crused by Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III (2 Kings 15:29).
- Hoshea (ca. 732-722 b.c.) then acknowledged Assyrian rulership for a time but later stopped paying tribute and tried to make an alliance with Egypt (2 Kings 17:3–4a). This brought the final destruction of the Northern Kingdom.
For twenty years they sought to find a way to survive through foreign policy apart from God. They didn't seek God or his ways and it led to their utter destruction.
Does this silly dove think it can escape? God's net will reach wherever they go. They can ignore God and fail to acknowledge God; they can pursue their plans all they want, but they will not escape the judgment God has ordained for them.
They weren't fast enough to flee from God. They couldn't outrun the destruction ordained for them. God was faithful in His covenant relationship with them but they had parted from God. There was no faithfulness in them. God redeemed them; buying them back and they turned on Him. This is an example of their lack of reverence and acknolwedgment of what God had done for them.
They wailed on their beds; pitiful cries of a child that didn't like the circumstances they found themselves in but unrepentant for their actions. The 'assembly' of verse fourteen was likely for the ritual cutting of themselves in a Canaanite ritual to get good crops. They rejected God's discipline, turning against him and devising wickedness instead. Their return wasn't to God Most High. They acknowledged their circumstances but failed to see to the root of their problem. They were like a faulty bow – incapable of shooting straight. Like the mechanics and physics of a bow and arrow result in a straight shot; logical thinking and pursuit of God will result in clear understanding of where they stood. Israel couldn't shoot straight and the consistenly missed the mark. Missing the mark was sin and they were proficient in it.
©2016 Doug Ford