Loyal - Week 5 Day 4
[8a] Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples;(ESV)
What does this mean that Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples?
 A long time afterward, when the LORD had given rest to Israel from all their surrounding enemies, and Joshua was old and well advanced in years,  Joshua summoned all Israel, its elders and heads, its judges and officers, and said to them, “I am now old and well advanced in years.  And you have seen all that the LORD your God has done to all these nations for your sake, for it is the LORD your God who has fought for you.  Behold, I have allotted to you as an inheritance for your tribes those nations that remain, along with all the nations that I have already cut off, from the Jordan to the Great Sea in the west.  The LORD your God will push them back before you and drive them out of your sight. And you shall possess their land, just as the LORD your God promised you.  Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left,  that you may not mix with these nations remaining among you or make mention of the names of their gods or swear by them or serve them or bow down to them,  but you shall cling to the LORD your God just as you have done to this day.  For the LORD has driven out before you great and strong nations. And as for you, no man has been able to stand before you to this day.  One man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the LORD your God who fights for you, just as he promised you.  Be very careful, therefore, to love the LORD your God.  For if you turn back and cling to the remnant of these nations remaining among you and make marriages with them, so that you associate with them and they with you,  know for certain that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations before you, but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good ground that the LORD your God has given you. (ESV)
Those are very direct words. We don’t need to wonder what GOD meant. Ephraim continued the tradition of assimilating itself with the other cultures worshiping false gods, even to the extent of sacrificing their own children! This is in direct disobedience to the LORD’s command. Are we doing these things today? Have we taken on the appearance and practices of cultures that practice false religions? Have we married worshiping the One True GOD with the worship of false religions? Can you easily be distinguished as belonging to the LORD through JESUS? The fact that you are right now studying the Bible for yourself, digging into the Word, means that you are willing to do the work. You are fostering your relationship with the One True GOD which means that you will not be prone to go looking for a relationship from false gods. Keep pouring into your relationship with the One True GOD and teaching the following generations to assimilate themselves to the Word of the LORD and not the world.
[8b] Ephraim is a cake not turned. (ESV)
Who wants to eat a pancake that was never flipped, but just cooked on one side? The majority of people, if not all, would not think this culinary creation was not desirable at all. Yuck! This is the same way that the LORD feels about our devotion to Him.
 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.  For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.  Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.  The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (ESV)
GOD is continuing to testify about Ephraim in the courtroom. Ephraim’s pride is so great that they are about to testify against themselves and not even know that they are doing it.
 Strangers devour his strength,
and he knows it not;
gray hairs are sprinkled upon him,
and he knows it not.
 The pride of Israel testifies to his face;
yet they do not return to the LORD their God,
nor seek him, for all this. (ESV)
Ephraim continues to look to other countries to form alliances, even at the expense of their own people, instead of calling on the LORD. Their gray hairs may represent weakness and they have no idea how weak they have made themselves. They think that they are strong with the alliances that they have made, by stealing from the LORD and crushing their own people. Ephraim is prideful. They tell GOD, with their actions, that they need nothing from Him. GOD is wanting to give gold, white garments, and salve, if only they would be zealous and repent.
Again, we cannot look at Ephraim and not ask, “Is this us?” Is this how we are acting or even reacting? Is this how our leaders are acting and reacting? Are we a pancake that has only been cooked on one side or can you easily be distinguished as wholly belonging to the LORD? If not, tell GOD. He stands at the door knocking and waiting for you. His voice is soft and steady. Lean into Him and listen.
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/.
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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.