The people of Ephraim had felt that they were an important tribe that deserved to be listened to and obeyed. But Ephraim had abandoned God for Baal, and that had brought spiritual death. They had gladly participated in Jeroboam’s human-made religion by sacrificing to the golden calves—even offering human sacrifices—and kissing the calves in worship.

Wait, what?!?  Yes, we look on the true story of the obscene disobedience of God’s people and ask ourselves;

How could you fall for worshiping a golden calf?

Why did you run from God at the first sign of trouble?

When did you begin to worship idols—all that is not God?

What made you think killing your babies would heal your sins and make you a better person?

God is heartbroken over his people’s disobedience, lack of love for Him and each other, perverted and obscene behaviors with the final blow of killing what He has created in the womb—their own babies.  All of this leads to his response to cleanse the land of evil—all of it.

Hosea 13, The Message

Religion Customized to Taste

1-3 God once let loose against Ephraim
    a terrifying sentence against Israel:
Caught and convicted
    in the lewd sex-worship of Baal—they died!
And now they’re back in the sin business again,
    manufacturing god-images they can use,
Religion customized to taste. Professionals see to it:
    Anything you want in a god you can get.

Can you believe it? They sacrifice live babies to these dead gods—
    kill living babies and kiss golden calves!
And now there’s nothing left to these people:
    hollow men, desiccated women,
Like scraps of paper blown down the street,
    like smoke in a gusty wind.

4-6 “I’m still your God,
    the God who saved you
out of Egypt.
I’m the only real God you’ve ever known.
    I’m the one and only God who delivers.
I took care of you during the wilderness hard times,
    those years when you had nothing.
I took care of you, took care of all your needs,
    gave you everything you needed.
You were spoiled. You thought you didn’t need me.
    You forgot me.

7-12 “I’ll charge them like a lion,
    like a leopard stalking in the brush.
I’ll jump them like a sow grizzly robbed of her cubs.
    I’ll rip out their guts.
Coyotes will make a meal of them.
    Crows will clean their bones.
I’m going to destroy you, Israel.
    Who is going to stop me?
Where is your trusty king you thought would save you?
    Where are all the local leaders you wanted so badly?

All these rulers you insisted on having,
    demanding, ‘Give me a king! Give me leaders!’?
Well, long ago I gave you a king, but I wasn’t happy about it.
    Now, fed up, I’ve gotten rid of him.
I have a detailed record of your infidelities—
    Ephraim’s sin documented and stored in a safe-deposit box.

13-15 “When birth pangs signaled it was time to be born,
    Ephraim was too stupid to come out of the womb.
When the passage into life opened up,
    he didn’t show.
Shall I intervene and pull them into life?
    Shall I snatch them from a certain death?
Who is afraid of you, Death?
    Who cares about your threats, Tomb?
In the end I’m abolishing regret,
    banishing sorrow,
Even though Ephraim ran wild,
    the black sheep of the family.

15-16 “God’s tornado is on its way,
    roaring out of the desert.
It will devastate the country,
    leaving a trail of ruin and wreckage.
The cities will be gutted,
    dear possessions gone for good.
Now Samaria has to face the charges
    because she has rebelled against her God:
Her people will be killed, babies smashed on the rocks,
    pregnant women ripped open.”


At first, we think how barbaric the behavior of God’s chosen centuries ago.  How thankful we are that God so loved that He sent Jesus to save us, becoming the once and for all sacrifice for our sins.  But we cannot become pious because centuries later, these same, sickening behaviors are present in our society still. 

We must not fall for worshiping modern sins that the world considers cleaned up to look acceptable.  It is disobedient to God to—

  • worship anything that is not God.  Refuse to “kiss the golden calf! Worship of anything or anyone that stands between God and us stunts our growth in the greatest love relationship we will ever have.  God’s love is unchangeable, unshakable, relentless, perfect, unending, and full of compassionate mercy and grace. 
  • use people for personal gain or satisfaction.Use tools of the trade, the spiritual fruits described in Galatians 5, to build up and encourage each other.  Jesus said when you use and hurt others, you are doing the same to me.
  • kill each other.  As humans, we have designed craftier ways to “kill” because of the inherit evil in us.  We slander, gossip and bully others until their character is destroyed and their mental and emotional mind is shattered and broken, wounded for life.
  • turn from God and His ways to pursue selfishness in all ways and means.  We do it in business practices, family relationships and in our churches.  

Evil still exists even though Jesus defeated the prince of evil.  As our Savior, Jesus went to hell and back again to free us from our sins of disobedience.  But we still have a daily choice to decide who we will serve.

Choose wisely.  It’s a matter of life or death!  Run out that grave of bondage and death and rise to new Life!  Live this new Life trusting and obeying Jesus who rose again with all the resurrection power of heaven infused within Him on that third day!  That same power has been given to us!

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:10-12

Press on, friends, and take hold of Jesus Christ who will never let go of us!


Wow, we have no right to judge the sins of the past.  Our sins might be made to look presentable and acceptable to the world but you see right through all the fake disguises.  Forgive us, Lord, for we know not what we are doing at times.  Sometimes we know exactly what we are doing and rebel against you to go our own way.  Forgive us.  Continue to transform our thinking, renew our spirits with your Holy Spirit and restore the joy of your salvation at work within us.

In Jesus Name, By Your Power, For Your Glory, Amen

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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