But I am like a moth to Ephraim,
and like dry rot to the house of Judah. (ESV)
The LORD uses similes to describe what He will be to Israel, still using the names Ephraim and Judah. In the verse above, box in the “I am,” which is the present tense of “I will.” Draw a circle around the two “likes”. Now draw arrows from “I am” to what GOD says that He is like. Lastly, draw arrows from what GOD says that He is like to connect the whom. Underline Ephraim in blue and underline Judah in purple. Try to do this from now on in the scriptures so that you can easily distinguish Ephraim (sometimes called Israel) in blue, Judah in purple, and All of Israel underlined in both blue and purple. Whew, you did great! We will see a lot of similes and metaphors in the future. Be on the hunt for these and mark them the same way as you come across them.
Now the question, why is the LORD going to be a moth to Ephraim and a dry rot to Judah?
1 Corinthians 1:18
 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (ESV)
We already have a metaphor.
The Word of the Cross is folly to who?
The Word of the cross is the power of GOD to whom?
There are a lot of synonyms for folly including but definitely not limited to; garbage, stupidity, and rot.
For those who are perishing in their sin, digging in their heels not to acknowledge GOD as the LORD of their life for the enjoyment of their sin, the LORD is a moth and a dry rot. Both of these things gradually destroy, making a new or pristine material archaic and dull. These things don't usually happen overnight, but overtime.
What do you think that Ephraim will do when they learn that they are slowly rotting? We will find the answer in the next verse.
 When Ephraim saw his sickness,
and Judah his wound,
then Ephraim went to Assyria,
and sent to the great king.
But he is not able to cure you
or heal your wound. (ESV)
Ephraim acknowledges that they have a problem. What does Ephraim see?
What does Judah see?
Both of these are physical ailments used to describe Ephraim and Judah’s spiritual condition. Who does Ephraim seek, now that they see that they have a problem?
Ephraim does not seek the LORD, the only One who could help them, because He has become folly to them. Using the synonyms of folly from above, The LORD has become rotten, stupid, and garbage to Ephraim.
 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
and like a young lion to the house of Judah.
I, even I, will tear and go away;
I will carry off, and no one shall rescue.
 I will return again to my place,
until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face,
and in their distress earnestly seek me. (ESV)
The LORD uses a simile again to what He will be like to Ephraim and Judah.
What will He be like to Ephraim?
What will He be like to Judah?
How does a lion act? What are the instincts of a lion?
How does a young lion act? What are the instincts of a young lion?
Circle “no one shall rescue.” Have we seen this statement before? Yes, turn back to Week 2 Day 3 and find Hosea 2:10 circling the same statement. GOD is disciplining the ones that He loves by not rescuing them from their consequences, but letting them fully experience the consequences of their sin choices. The LORD is not going to intercede this time for the ones that He loves, but wait for them to earnestly seek Him. Let’s not wait till the LORD has to say to us “no one shall rescue,” but instead set our minds to seek Him only.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.
“Dictionary by Merriam-Webster: America's Most-Trusted Online Dictionary.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/.
Green, Jay P. “Hosea.” The Interlinear Hebrew-Aramaic Old Testament: With Strong's Concordance Numbers above Each Word, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, MA, 1985, pp. 2075–2092.
Publishing, Rose. Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Time Lines. Rose Publishing, 2015.
Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible: Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order, Together with Dictionaries of the Hebrew and Greek Words of Th. Hendrickson Publishers, 1990.