Ephraim –Worse Than The Ostrich
June 11, 2014
The rebellious man (who I call Ephraim), because he refused to repent in the time of God’s mercy to him, writhes in pain (Mi. 1:12) under the disaster the Lord has been bringing upon him. (same verse) Why has the Lord done this? It is because he wickedly –over and over again– transgressed against the Lord. (v. 2-5) He gathered his money through illicit means (v. 7), conducting himself in arrogance and deceit as he spent his life defrauding, tyrannizing, and seizing what rightfully belonged to others. (2:2) Plotting iniquity and evil even as he lay in his bed (2:1 // Ps. 36:4), Ephraim committed himself to a sinful course while knowingly and progressively accepting that which is wrong. (Ps. 36:4)
Because Ephraim has continued to refuse repentance and humility and righteousness, God has “kept the record of his sins so that his guilt is stored up.” (See Ho. 13:12) God calls this selfish, greedy man a fool (Luke 12:20), “a child who has refused to learn wisdom” (see Ps. 36:3 // Hos. 13:13), and a man too arrogant to detect or hate his extensive vileness. (Ps. 36:2) Such a man heaps upon his own self shame and disgrace (Pr. 13:5), exposing his folly (v. 16) as he ties himself up with the cords of his own evil deeds (5:22) and bringing the stench of his heart with him wherever he goes. Such a man, though he has made himself loathsome to God and man, continues to strut in the pool of his own drunken vomit (Pr. 23:35 // Isa. 19:11-17 // Jer. 51:37-40) like the ostrich who is not only thoughtless, but has no sense. (Job 39:13-18 // Lam. 4:3)
Pretty picture? Hardly. Yet the wicked man continues his reckless ways, laughing, denying, and blaming everyone else but himself.
There is no hope for this man… for Ephraim. No natural hope. No human help. Nothing. Change for him is impossible. He has hardened himself into the cement of his own deceiving nature. He has fallen and fallen and fallen into the abyss of complete depravity.
But there is hope. Supernatural hope. Supernatural help. It is God’s Word. It is God’s Spirit. It is He who is All-powerful. It is Christ Jesus who came to set the captives free. God’s compassion and God’s mercy can always triumph, for all that is impossible becomes possible through Him, through calling out to Him in faith.
Therefore return –you whose “sins have been your downfall! Take humble and repentant words with you and return to the LORD!” (See Hos. 14:1,2) Accept the crushing that has come to you to tenderize your cold heart. Accept the disgrace and grief that He has punished you with so as to help you repent. Accept God’s justice to you that has been mixed with love, compassion, and His Spirit’s tears and prayers. Then, if you do these things, you will no longer destine yourself to the Eternal Darkness, but instead, His light will rise upon you… you will have hope… you will be made clean… you will be comforted and healed by the Redeemer, Comforter, and Healer Himself… and you will find rest from the turmoil of your soul. If you truly repent and turn, if you truly seek Him and walk close with Him, you will come to possess the One who is Himself Eternal and Abundant Life (John 10:10 // 1 John 5:20) –Him who is Joy Unspeakable. (Compare John 15:11 and Col. 1:27 and 1 Peter 1:8,9)
It remains your choice, Ephraim. –Your choice to heed correction so that you embrace Wisdom and thus Freedom, or, your choice to ignore correction, mock it, fume over it, and be damned.