Once again, the Lord points out his problem with Israel (“Ephraim”). They are daily increasing lies and desolation, making covenants with other nations (v.1). They deceive and oppress (v.7). They covet (v.8) and disregard God’s prophets (v.10). They worship idols (v.11) and provoke the Lord to anger with all of their sin (v.14).
God challenged them to learn from the example of their father Jacob (v.3-6). He was a deceiver from the beginning, but eventually, he humbled himself and was broken before God. The Lord became his memorial, and, in like manner, the nation should turn to their God as well. They should turn with all their hear, keeping mercy and judgment, and “wait on thy God continually.”
The only solution was humility and brokenness that expressed itself in righteous living and real faith in God. If they could only remember where they came from (v.12-13), empty and wandering in the wilderness, having to keep sheep for a wife. God in His grace led His people out of Egypt by a prophet, and if they would listen to God’s prophet (Hosea), they would be preserved as well.
Questions to consider:
- What “controversy” would the Lord have with us? Where is there sin our life that we are trying to hide but He knows it is there? If we fail to confess that sin, it will eventually bring the Lord’s punishment and chastening.
- Do we allow the Lord to humble us and break us like Jacob, where we weep before Him, turn to Him, and wait on His continually? This is no momentary sorrow; this is a continual realisation of how much we need God.
- How have we allowed pride and wealth to blind us to our sin? Ephraim was prosperous and, as a result, thought there was no iniquity in them. Yet, if they had only listened to the prophets God sent, they would have realised how much they need to repent and turn to the Lord. We need to get into God’s Word to get a realistic view of who we are and who God is.