Do Not Be Like Ephraim

Text: Hosea 6:4

Hosea warned the people of Israel (Ephraim) about God’s judgment that was coming against them for their sin. In the passages we will consider, he compared the people to different things – dew, a dove, and a donkey. The warning we are to take from these passages is this: Do not be like Ephraim!

Like a Morning Cloud and the Dew (Hosea 6:4)

  • The “morning cloud” and “dew” do not last long, but quickly fade away – this was their loyalty/goodness; the word means faithfulness; they were not wholly devoted to the Lord; God has always expected this of His people (Matthew 22:36-37)
  • It is common for people to begin serving God, but later fall away (Hosea 6:4; cf. Luke 8:13)
  • God wants us to know His word and obey Him (Hosea 6:6; cf. Ephesians 5:17; James 1:22)
  • How did they get in this condition?
  • They transgressed their covenant with God (Hosea 6:7) – we made a commitment to follow Christ (Matthew 28:19-20); we must not continue in sin (Romans 6:1-2)
  • They followed after poor leadership (Hosea 6:9) – we follow leaders as they lead us in the Lord (Hebrews 13:7); not beyond that (Philippians 3:17-19)
  • They followed after other gods (Hosea 6:10) – we are to guard ourselves from idols (1 John 5:21), which includes anything that takes God’s place in our lives

Like a Silly Dove Without Sense (Hosea 7:11)

  • A “silly dove” is without sense/heart – this refers to the inner man (mind, will, understanding, conscience); they were not using their mind/conscience properly; our mind/conscience must be trained (Hebrews 5:13-14); in this state of poor judgment, they made allies with the world
  • Becoming mixed with the nations is contrary to God’s will for us (Hosea 7:8; cf. 2 Corinthians 6:14-17)
  • This results in a weakened state that one is oblivious to (Hosea 7:9; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:33)
  • How did they get in this condition?
  • They were arrogant (Hosea 7:10) – pride leads to destruction (Proverbs 16:18); yet many follow the way that “seems right” to them (Proverbs 16:25)
  • They spoke lies to God (Hosea 7:13) – many believe God will overlook sin (Romans 6:1-2); but He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:12-13)
  • They forgot that God was their source of strength (Hosea 7:15) – we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13); can do nothing apart from Him (John 15:5)

Like a Wild Donkey All Alone (Hosea 8:9)

  • A “wild donkey” has no master or has forgotten who its master is – this was the condition of the people; they had forgotten that God was their master; we belong to God (1 Peter 2:9-10) and must never forget it; forgetting that God is our master will lead us to seek another “master” (cf. Romans 6:16)
  • Being like the world is not as good as it might seem at first (Hosea 8:8; cf. Matthew 26:14-16; 27:1-5)
  • Being allied with the world will not save us from God’s judgment (Hosea 8:9-10; cf. Revelation 18:4-5; 17:14)
  • How did they get in this condition?
  • They multiplied altars for sin (Hosea 8:11) – sin is progressive (2 Timothy 3:13); when we allow sin to continue, it will multiply (cf. James 5:20)
  • They regarded God’s law as a strange thing (Hosea 8:12) – this comes from neglecting to study (2 Timothy 2:15); we can drift away from God’s word (Hebrews 2:1)
  • They changed the focus of their worship to themselves (Hosea 8:13) – our worship services are for God (John 4:24), not to entertain us
  • They worshiped idols rather than God (Hosea 8:14) – discussed already (1 John 5:21); danger of forgetting our Creator (Romans 1:21-25)

Conclusion

  • Let us learn these lessons from the sins of Ephraim
  • We are God’s people – let us humbly submit to Him and remain faithful until the end

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