“Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned.” (Hosea 7:8 RSV).
Ephraim was the second son of Joseph born in Egypt. His name literally means “fruitful.”
When Ephraim and his elder brother, Manasseh, were brought before their grandfather, Jacob, that he might bless them, Jacob set Ephraim before Manasseh by placing his right hand on him, guiding his hands wittingly, and thus Ephraim received the chief blessing of his grandfather Jacob.
Therefore, the tribe of Ephraim became so powerful and prominent in Israel to the extent that the name “Ephraim” was often used to represent the entire Kingdom of Israel (Gen. 48:8-20, Isa. 11:13, Jer. 31:6).
But, having become very blessed, fruitful, prominent and powerful, Ephraim (the Kingdom of Israel) forsook God and followed after the gods of other nations.
Prophet Hosea testified to their idolatry.
7 “The more they increased, The more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame.
8 They eat up the sin of My people; They set their heart on their iniquity.
9 And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, And reward them for their deeds.
10 For they shall eat, but not have enough; They shall commit harlotry, but not increase; Because they have ceased obeying the LORD. (NKJV).
4 “O Ephraim, what shall I do to you? O Judah, what shall I do to you? For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud, And like the early dew it goes away.
5 Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of My mouth; And your judgments are like light that goes forth.
6 For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
7 “But like men they transgressed the covenant; There they dealt treacherously with Me.
8 Gilead is a city of evildoers, And defiled with blood.
9 As bands of robbers lie in wait for a man, So the company of priests murder on the way to Shechem; Surely they commit lewdness.
10 I have seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel: There is the harlotry of Ephraim; Israel is defiled. (NKJV).
Whenever God warned Ephraim, he would repent, but after a short while he would go back into idolatry.
There came a time that Ephraim became so neck-deep in idolatry that God just gave up on him and decided to leave him to his idols.
God said, “Ephraim is joined to idols, Let him alone. Their drink is rebellion, they commit harlotry continually. Her rulers dearly love dishonor.” (Hos. 4:17-18 NKJV).
What a terrible condition!
In the days of Hosea the prophet, God aptly described Ephraim as “a cake not turned” – a cake burnt on one side and unbaked on the other side.
Hosea testifies, “Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned.” (Hos. 7:8 RSV).
Sadly, many believers today, like Ephraim, are “a cake not turned” – they are partly for Christ and partly for the world; they are neither cold nor hot.
In those days, cakes were usually baked on the ground covered with coals and turned every ten minutes to bake them thoroughly without burning them.
The image of a cake not turned depicts Ephraim as hypocrites – neither thoroughly bad nor thoroughly good; neither thoroughly hot nor thoroughly cold.
Today, Ephraim would be zealous for God, but the next day, he would be zealous for Baal or other foreign gods. Ephraim was neither fully for God nor fully for Baal.
It is sad but true that many servants of God today are like Ephraim – a cake not turned. They are seeking to please God and also seeking to please the world. They are seeking to serve both God and Mammon (the god of untrue riches).
They are neither for righteousness nor against wickedness. Nobody knows what they are standing for or against in the Church and in the society. They are always striving to be seen as being political correct in their sermons.
Many believers today are shuttling between righteousness and sin, between godliness and worldliness, and between serving God and Mammon, just as Ephraim shuttled between God and Baal.
Though they profess to believe in Christ, yet they don’t abide in His teaching and walk in His footsteps. Though they confess Jesus as their Lord, yet they don’t surrender to His Lordship or authority.
Jesus queried such people, saying, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say? (Luke 6:46 NKJV).
What can you do with a cake not turned – a cake burnt on one side but unbaked on the other side?
It is worthless, useless, unprofitable and unfit for consumption!
What did God do with Ephraim when he became a cake not turned?
God cast Ephraim out of the Promised Land!
Ephraim went into captivity and never returned fully!
God’s prophet proclaimed against them, saying, “They shall not dwell in the LORD’S land, but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and shall eat unclean things in Assyria.” (Hos. 9:3 NKJV).
“My God will cast them away, because they did not obey Him; and they shall be wanderers among the nations.” (Hos. 9:17 NKJV).
What a warning to all those in our churches today who have become experts in hypocritical or deceptive living!
There is absolutely nothing God can do with hypocrites other than to vomit or cast them out of His presence.
Jesus warns, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” (Rev. 3:15-16 NKJV).
Beloved, hypocrisy makes you a cake not properly turned (a cake burnt on one side but unbaked on the other side) and thus completely useless and unprofitable both to God and humanity. No one desires, cherishes, buys or eats a half-baked cake!
The Scripture warns, “Do you not know this of old, since man was placed on earth, That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment?” (Job 20:4-5 NKJV).
Unfortunately, what many Church leaders today are turning out are half-baked cakes – believers who are inadequately trained, discipled, mentored or equipped for the work of ministry and thus unprofitable both to God’s Kingdom and the society.
Friend, it is a sheer foolishness masquerading as a born-again believer when you know you are not. Why pretending to be a follower of Jesus when you don’t even know Jesus, nor have a loving and intimate relationship with Jesus?
Why hiding who and what you are from God?
He sees and knows you inside out; for there is nothing hidden before Him!
Put off your mask of religion today, open your corrupt heart to Jesus and turn over your rotten and stinking life to Him. Jesus will give you a new heart and a new life. This is what Jesus does best – transforming a rotten and stinking life to a holy and glorious one.
Surrender yours to Him today!
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, I am fed up with my life of pretence and hypocrisy. Here I am a wretched and stinking hypocrite! I repent, believe and confess Jesus Christ today as my Lord and Saviour. Thank you Lord for giving me a brand new heart and life in Christ, in Jesus’ name. Amen.