Hosea 7:8 Ephraim mixes himself with the nations; Ephraim has become a cake not turned.
The Lord has always warned His people about being intertwined with the world. It is way too easy for us to become just like the lost people of this generation, our affections and priorities all polluted by the love of this world. It’s not just sinful things that can turn our hearts. For most Christians it’s not the flagrant sins that stumble us, it’s allowing other good things, even the things given to us by God, to take His place of pre-eminence in our hearts. Listen to these powerful words by A.B. Simpson.
“It is a great thing to learn to take God first, and then He can afford to give us everything else, without the fear of its hurting us. As long as you want anything very much, especially more than you want God, it is an idol. But when you become satisfied with God, everything else so loses its charm that He can give it to you without harm, and then you can take just as much as you choose and use it for His Glory. There is no harm whatever in having money, houses, lands, friends, and dearest children, if you do not value these things for themselves. If you have been separated from them in spirit, and become satisfied with God Himself, then they will become to you channels to be filled with God to bring Him nearer to you. Then every little lamb around your household will be a tender cord to bind you to the Shepherd’s heart. Then every affection will be a little golden cup filled with the wine of His love. Then every bank, stock, and investment will be a channel through which you can pour out His benevolence and extend His gifts”.
I love this. Once He has our hearts, our view of everything else changes. We begin to have His perspective of what life is all about. The story of Abraham and Isaac is a great picture of this truth. Abraham waited in faith for thirty years before the promised son, Isaac, was born. After Isaac was eighteen years old the Lord asked Abraham to offer his son, his only son, as an offering to Him. Why would God ask such a thing? Why would God “take back” this precious gift He had given to Abraham? This was the most critical moment in Abraham’s life. His response now would determine what his life was all about. Was it about the gifts and blessings that God gave to Him, or was it more than that? Was it really about the Lord Himself? How about you? Is your relationship based on His gifts or is it based on your love for Him, or better yet, His love for you.
Abraham passed the test, he offered his son on the altar, the Lord saw his heart and provided a ram for a sacrifice. The Lord was after Abraham’s heart, not Abraham’s son. That is what the Lord is after in our lives. Once He has your heart, He delights in lavishing His gifts upon you.