Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt.
2 The Lord hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him.
3 He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God:
4 Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us;
5 Even the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is his memorial.
6 Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment and wait on thy God continually.
7 He is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress.
8 And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin.
9 And I that am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast.
10 I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.
11 Is there iniquity in Gilead? surely they are vanity: they sacrifice bullocks in Gilgal; yea, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the fields.
12 And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep.
13 And by a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved.
14 Ephraim provoked him to anger most bitterly: therefore shall he leave his blood upon him, and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him.
I’m a middle child. I didn’t get the privileges of being oldest and I didn’t get indulged like the youngest. I feel like I had to fight for everything. That may have seemed to work on some levels as a child but it also had its price--I learned to view others as adversaries. When I became a Christian, I realized there is another way to live: in fellowship and in cooperation with God.
Hosea 12:3 ISV, referring to Jacob, reads, “He circumvented his brother in the womb, and as an adult he fought with God.” Some versions make it sound more like Jacob and the Lord were fighting side by side, but we know that Jacob fought against the Lord. It was not until Jacob knew he was overpowered that he changed from fighting against the Lord to clinging to the Lord. My question is, Why does it have to reach that point? Why is our first reaction to God adversarial rather than cooperation? This bad attitude is part of sinful human nature. God makes it clear that he wants to save us and to bless us. Jesus says, “Come unto me...and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.
Karen D. Lifshay
Church Communications Secretary, Hermiston, Oregon USA