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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


Hosea 7:8 Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.

Hosea 7:11 Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call Egypt, they go to Assyria.

As a general rule, God, through various prophets, spoke to Israel as an entire nation of people. However, in some instances He spoke to individuals, families of people, and, as in this case, to a certain tribe of Israel. At this time, the entire nation of Israel was steeped in idolatry and wickedness. Here, however, God speaks specifically to the tribe of Ephraim through the prophet Hosea. The wickedness and iniquity of Ephraim is mentioned in the first few verses of Hosea, chapter 2. They seemed to have been living in a political state filled with lies, deception, fraud, and thievery. Internally, their government officials were spoiling (stealing from) them. Externally, the Assyrians, Egyptians, and probably other nations as well, were plundering the country and laying waste the land. As they became more wicked, they became less concerned about the fact that God was watching their actions and would hold them accountable for their erring ways. Their hearts had become hardened and their consciences failed to convict them of their sinful ways of life.

They accepted the wicked and idolatrous ways of their king, Jeroboam, and made their ruling princes glad "with their lies." They were compared to the oven of a baker. The oven was made ready and the dough was leavened. Ephraim appears to be represented by the dough that was leavened with the idolatry of the king and his rulers. The unattended oven of Jeroboam fails to cook the dough properly and ruined the bread. Thus, Ephraim is ruined.

Because Ephraim hath mixed himself among the people, had allied with, and placed their dependence on, other nations, instead of God, Ephraim was considered to be a cake unturned. Ephraim was like bread that is cooked only on one side. They were as useless as uncooked bread was to a meal. As part of God's chosen people, Ephraim had become useless to God's plan of blessing all nations through the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

In verse 11, Ephraim is compared to a silly dove without heart. It is fairly well known that the dove is a bird that fails to recognize many perils that may surround it. They are easily lured into snares, and, without apprehension, will fly or walk into traps set to capture them. Instead of depending on God for their political stability, Ephraim continually tried to form alliances with surrounding nations like Assyria and Egypt. Like silly doves flitting about without heart, the tribe of Ephraim was always being trapped by the enemy, as each political, economic, and military alliance seemed to fail and work to their hurt rather than their betterment.

There is a lesson for each of us contained in this story. How does our association with our family, friends, neighbors and co-workers affect us? Have we formed "unholy alliances" with others that lead ungodly lives? Do these, so called friends, speak openly against Christianity, the bible, the church, and even speak evil about God and His Son Jesus Christ? Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? (1 Cor. 5:6). Just as Paul warned the Corinthians about false teachers, so we are warned of the affect of our association with sinners. Be warned that just as a small pinch of leaven spreads throughout the loaf of bread, association with sinners, if unchallanged, can contaminate the life of a Christian.

Reading carefully 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, we find that Paul was not telling Christians to isolate themselves from the world. To do so would mean that we could not function in the ordinary affairs of life. Our warning is to beware of the negative affect on our lives by others. Don't be a cake unturned; don't be an incomplete Christian; don't remain a babe in Christ; study to grow strong in God's word. Don't be a silly dove; recognize the perils that surround you each day; don't be easily snared or trapped by those living in sin - those with whom you must associate daily. How can this be done? It can only be accomplished through the continual study of God's word, through ardent prayer, and the support of Christian fellowship.