DARE to be DIFFERENT by STANDING APART for GOD
September 17 Bible Reading: Hosea Chapters 7-9
"Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned. Aliens have devoured his strength, but he does not know it; yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, yet he does not know it." (Hosea 7:8-9)
Israel, addressed in the name of its most prominent tribe Ephraim, was reminded of the mission that God had called it into existence in Gen 12:1–3. Instead, they had mixed themselves among the heathen people by shifting alliances with Egypt, Philistia, Aram, and Assyria, and had adopted their ways. They had much religious activity to show for, but no religious reality.
In this sarcastic metaphor, the people of Israel was compared to an unturned cake because they had refused to turn to the Lord and showed lack of balance. As far as religious activity is concerned, they were overdone. But so far as their attitude and reality towards God was concerned, they were raw. This example fitted Israel’s condition perfectly!
Because Israel had entered into foreign alliances and assimilated other cultures, it had lost the distinctions that gave it worth. Their alliances, rather than empowering them, had sapped their strength. The people were “half-baked”; there was no depth in their religious experience. The nation was aging, weakened and feeble but did not realize it, and national death would come much sooner than the people realized.
Let’s take a valuable lesson from this metaphor concerning Israel. When we truly live as God’s children by taking the Scriptures to heart and attempt to live them, we will inevitably come into conflict with the world. We belong to no one but Christ. To be a true Christian is to stand apart and yet to remain within – to dare to be different. In order to obey God faithfully, we may need to make changes in our hearts and our lives. Let’s stand apart for God by making a change within and declaring a new start today!
"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil 3:13-14)