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.
2 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.
3 They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.
4 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.
5 In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners.
6 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.
7 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.
8 Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.
9 Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.
10 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.
11 Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.
12 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.
13 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.
14 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.
15 Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against me.
16 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.
Perhaps you’ve seen it happen – sudden dissatisfaction with a job, a spouse, efforts to prove one’s virility by cheating, partying, and abandoning one’s responsibility. This lifestyle is followed by the destruction of the person's family, peer relationships and trouble with society. What I’m describing is a mid-life crisis. It is not an invention of the “me generation” or even of modern society. God’s people had a mid-life crisis and Hosea records it for us. He writes, “All of them are adulterers. . . the princes got drunk from wine, so the king joined the mockers.” Hosea 7:4,5.
Spiritual lethargy has crept in along with societal decline: “Foreigners have consumed his strength, and he hasn’t noticed. Furthermore, his head is sprinkled with gray hair, but he doesn’t realize it.” Hosea 7:9. Poor Israel and Ephraim are gray-haired, all dressed up in a leisure suit for a night out on the town, never realizing how sinful and “uncool” they are until Hosea brings the message, “It never occurs to them that I remember all their sin. Now their actions have caught up with them, and they have my attention.” Hosea 7:2.
It’s time to listen up!
Karen D. Lifshay
SDA Church Communications Secretary, Hermiston, Oregon USA