Ephraim is like a dove,
silly and without sense,
calling to Egypt, going to Assyria.
As they go, I will spread over them my net;
I will bring them down like birds of the heavens;
I will discipline them according to the report made to their congregation.
Woe to them, for they have strayed from me!
Destruction to them, for they have rebelled against me!
I would redeem them,
but they speak lies against me. Hosea 7:11-13 ESV
Blessed is the man who makes
the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told. Psalm 40:4-5 ESV
Has a bird ever flown into your house? Occasionally a bird flies into an open window or door. When that happens, the bird will be very afraid. It knows it’s trapped in a place it doesn’t belong, and will try to find the way out. It might try to fly through a closed window and bump hard against the glass it can’t see. It might fly frantically from one wall or corner to another, but it will be afraid of the people who try to help it get out, and the bird will try to get away from them. Sometimes you might even have to call an animal management expert to come and use a net if you just can’t get the bird out of your house by yourself.
God’s people were in serious trouble, and God spoke to them through the prophet Hosea. He said that they were like a silly bird, flying from here to there, looking for help, but avoiding the God who loved them and would be able to help them. There were two powerful nations at this time. To the south and west was the nation of Egypt, and to the north and east was the nation of Assyria. These two nations were fighting with each other, and God’s people were stuck in the middle. Sometimes they tried to make friends with Assyria and get their help, and then they might try to get Egypt to help them. But it was really foolish of them to go to Egypt or Assyria for help. These countries were only trying to get power for themselves and defeat the other one, and to them God’s people Israel were just people to be used for their own benefit. They didn’t care about Israel at all. God cared, but he was angry with the lies that people were telling about him. They were saying that their best bet was to look somewhere else for help, because God didn’t care and couldn’t help them.
Sometimes people still listen to lies. They look in many places for help with their troubles, but they refuse to turn to God for help. We all do this at times. We know that we are sinful, but we sometimes think we can save ourselves by being good or working hard. This is very foolish, because we can’t save ourselves. God loves us and sent his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us. Because of Jesus, our sins are forgiven, and we are God’s people. We don’t have to figure out how to solve our problems all by ourselves, and we don’t have to worry about saving ourselves. Because of Jesus, we know that God is there for us and always ready to help us.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your love and forgiveness. Help us always to trust in you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.