This chapter continues the prophecy about the Assyrian Invasion. There is a sort of list of grievances that God has against Israel. I wonder if any of these attitudes and behaviors resemble our own.
Verses 8-10 read,
“The Lord has sent a word against Jacob,
and it will fall on Israel;
9 and all the people will know,
Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria,
who say in pride and in arrogance of heart:
10 “The bricks have fallen,
but we will build with dressed stones;
the sycamores have been cut down,
but we will put cedars in their place.”
Instead of taking to heart what was happening and listening to God to repent, the people were so full of themselves that as damage happened they were saying, “No biggie, we can fix it.” And not only were they ignoring what God was saying to them but when they fixed the problems themselves they were not doing it by God’s criteria. They disregarded the Lord, His plans, His words, and repaired the broken with substandard materials. They made it look good, but it wasn’t.
Do you disregard the Lord? Do you try and fix your own problems? Or do you allow the circumstances in your life to teach you, and bring you closer to Him? Your solutions will never be as good and perfect as what the Lord has planned. Your provision will never be as complete. Your repair will can only be second-rate when compared to the perfection and restoration of what God will do. Looking good on the outside has nothing to do with Jesus Christ’s righteousness, The Father’s grace, or The Spirit’s power.
Verses 15-16 read,
“the elder and honored man is the head,
and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail;
16 for those who guide this people have been leading them astray,
and those who are guided by them are swallowed up.”
The people were not turning to God, and they were not turning to their king whom He had put in place. Perhaps they didn’t like the answers they got from The Lord, His true prophets and His king. They looked elsewhere for guidance. They looked to people who would tell them what they wanted to hear.
The Lord tells you go this way, do this. But it’s too hard to forgive, to accept discipline, or choose the right over the easy so instead you listen to the respected and popular voice whose advice is positive, easy to swallow and easy to follow. If you are uncertain about God’s voice, you can be sure of a few things. God speaks from deep love for you. His plan will probably not be the easy one. It requires faith. His plan will not cause you to harm others or otherwise sin. Rather than avoid suffering, His plan makes the trials work to better you.
Verses 19-21 read,
“Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts
the land is scorched,
and the people are like fuel for the fire;
no one spares another.
20 They slice meat on the right, but are still hungry,
and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied;
each devours the flesh of his own arm,
21 Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim devours Manasseh;
together they are against Judah.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.”
When disaster, hunger, and economic ruin hit Israel they only let it fuel the fire of their own desires and hungers. They had no money so they wanted more. They were hungry so they wanted food. And with every little bit they got, they weren’t grateful or satisfied. Getting a little made them want more and more until they turned against one another. They didn’t stand together or help one another. Their greed consumed them.
What about you? When you are short on cash, does the desire for money eat you? Or do you trust the Lord to provide like He promised. When you are hungry, are you thankful for the bread He provided or do you look for the filet mignon to go with it? Would you share the little you have with someone else in need or fight them to get to the front of the soup line before the kitchen closes?
Did you recognize yourself in any of these attitudes? Even a little? That is your Lord, His Spirit is revealing to you these problems. He wants to transform you to His Image. Give it all over to Him. Let Him have His way with you, your heart, your attitudes, and your actions. Let him make you into the image of Christ. How much better is that than the image of Donna? About a bazillion percent. No it is more like ∞%.