Summary: Hosea charged Israel with being “a cake not turned” or “half-baked". They were half-hearted towards God. Like Israel, many of today’s professed believers have followed the same pattern of incomplete discipleship.
“Ephraim is a cake not turned.” — Hosea 7:8
Hosea, a prophet to the house of Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II, used several
colorful admonitions to bring to Israel’s attention the state of their relationship with
God. In his comparison he refers to Israel as being “a cake not turned” or “half-baked”
Similar to the charges against Israel, in Revelation 3:2, Christ charges the church of
Sardis with works that are “not complete” or “partially performed”. Half-heartedness
is never condoned by God. God demands consecration of one’s entire being. The Lord
Jesus Christ calls for complete submission to His will, complete obedience to His
commands, complete devotion to His work, and complete allegiance to His Lordship.
Like Israel, many of today’s professed believers have followed the same pattern of
incomplete discipleship. Three of Israel failures were the failing to maintain their
separation, failing to be vigilant, and failing to seek God. If we fail to learn from Israel’s
failure we are in danger of missing the fullness of God’s blessings.
I. Their failure to maintain their separation
A. Verse 8 – “Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples”.
B. God commanded His people Israel not to intermingle with the Gentiles nations.
His concern was that association with idolatrous nations would turn their
hearts away from Him and become corrupted like the heathen.
C. Deuteronomy 18:9 “When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God
gives thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those
D. Leviticus 20:23 “And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I
cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I
E. Time and time again Israel was commanded to maintain their separation as a
special people belonging to God.
F. Israel’s separation from the other nations was to be a type or picture of the
separation to which God has called those of us who have been redeemed by
His grace: a separation from persons, places, and activities of sinful and
G. 2 Corinthians 6:14, 17, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:
for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what
communion hath light with darkness?... Wherefore come out from among
them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing;
and I will receive you”
H. Israel failed to remain separated. They yielded to the culture around them. They
were not forced into intermingling but voluntarily “mixed himself”. As a
result the nation was in decline. Likewise if we fail to maintain our
separation spiritual we begin to travel a downhill slope.
I. In his book “The Next Christians”, Gabe Lyons describes what he calls cultural
Christians. He states that cultural Christians fail to differentiate between
their faith and the mainstream, preferring to blend in.
J. Living a life of separation from sin is not arbitrary for the believer. It is not a matter in which God has given us a choice. When the Lord says, we "should" walk in the newness of life, He is not saying the issue is subjective. If our faith is genuine God, expects us to maintain our separation.
K. The genuineness of a person's profession of faith is seen in how they live their lives. Genuine faith is a faith that works a change in a person’s life and produces Godly living in a person’s life. – Abrams
II. Their failure to maintain vigilance
A. Verse 8 – “Ephraim is a cake not turned”
B. In the Middle East, bread is baked in an interesting fashion. Having heated the hearth, the bakers sweep one corner, put the cake upon it, and cover it with embers or ashes; in a short time they turn it, cover it again, and continue this every 10 to 15 minutes until they find it sufficiently baked. If it is not turned, the bottom will be burnt, and the top unbaked, and so be good for nothing; not fit to be eaten, being nothing indeed, neither bread nor dough.
C. The people were like a pancake burned on one side but raw on the other. Ephraim boasted themselves to be a people sacred to God and yet did not fully commit to Him. Although they took advantage of the Lord's goodness, they did not seek Him with their whole heart.
D. Israel was guilty of what is described in 2 Kings 17:33 “They feared the Lord, and SERVED THEIR OWN GODS, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.”
E. In thinking they could serve both the Lord and the idols of the pagan nations around them, Israel was like an unturned pancake - burned on one side, uncooked on the other AND FIT FOR NEITHER.