The Pride of Israel

Hosea 7: 10-11.

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.

Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.

Israel has gone so far away from God that, in their pride, they don’t even see their own folly, or the danger looming over them. They are silly, like doves, with no courage or determination. They fly off to other nations, seeking refuge or protection. So silly are they, indeed, that they even appealed to Assyria for help– perhaps a treaty of some sort to deliver them from the catastrophe that loomed over them.

It either does not occur to them to seek God, or they simply do not care to seek Him because of everything they would have had to give up.

There have been many who have resisted coming to God because they were afraid they’d have to give up the lifestyle they loved. What they finally come to understand, often, is that God changes the desires of the heart, and places a new heart within them–a heart that seeks Him, and delights in Him, and no longer desires the things of the world that they thought they couldn’t do without.

Many years ago, my dad, who had become a Christian when he was about 14 but had never really been discipled, felt the pull of God’s call on his life. He had been through WWII, had a wife and two little girls, and a good job. But he was a weekend beer drunk, and he smoked a lot–both of those skills he learned in the Navy. He struggled against giving up things he enjoyed.

One day, as he was driving out in the countryside, waging a mental battle with the Lord, he was about to pull another cigarette from the pack in his pocket. He realized he was sick of the battle, hated smoking, and he pulled the pack out of his pocket, crumpled it up and tossed it out the window. That was it. He never smoked again, and never craved it. Yes, he was guilty of littering. Doing so was not typical of him. He was a very neat man who liked everything in its place. Tossing that pack of cigarettes was significant of the battle he was waging against giving in to God’s call on his life. He gave up drinking, too, and went to Bible college to become a pastor. In doing so, he also gave up his desire to be a college-level history teacher, but he never gave up his love and interest in history, and passed it along to his children.

Why do I share this story with you? Because, in a way, Dad was like Israel in his resistance against God, wanting to go his own way and not really having a clear idea of what that way would be. He was stubbornly resisting God’s call, just as Israel resisted God’s pleading for them to repent and turn to Him.

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