A few years ago, we had some friends over for a Chinese dinner.  These were special friends–loved the Lord along with being lots of fun, had traveled the world, not stick-in-the-muds like some can be!  We loved being with them and wanted to cook a special meal before they left for their retirement on the southern coast of France!

I prepared all day as you do for a Chinese banquet meal.  Seven courses in all.  Sounded good. Smells were inviting.  Sat down to eat.  Each and every course was… under-cooked except for the frozen sherbet!  We were morti-fried!  Most embarrassing.  They were gracious, but probably eager to leave the country after that meal!

Strangely, this is how God describes His people in the book of Hosea, chapter 7.  Verse 4 pictures a baker who foolishly lets his oven fire go out before the bread is done.  Like God’s people, who lose their fire for the Lord.  No good for anyone at all, especially for the baker whose business will suffer.

Verse 8 refers to a ‘cake not turned’, half-baked, not fit for human consumption.  God’s people have gone half-way in their commitment to Him.  They don’t finish well.  End poorly after a fairly good start.  Any of this ring true for you?  I’m listening myself.

Verse 9 describes God’s people, whose strength drains away having no awareness of it at all.  Obtuse in the face of the obvious.  Wonder what I’m missing in my life for the Lord?  ‘Strangers devour his strength, and he knows it not; gray hairs are sprinkled upon him, and he knows it not(Hosea 7:9).’  Wakes up one day an old man.  Father Time pushs him to the edge.  Unaware.  Unbaked.  Clueless.  How silly.  Shouldn’t we know better?

Verse 11 portrays God’s wayward people like doves that flit here and there.  Birds do that.  Fine for them.  We can see them in our backyard, flying everywhere.  God’s people go everywhere for help except to the One who promises to care for them.  Go everywhere else except…  Is that me?  How about you?

Verses 14 through 16–the Lord Himself says to bring EVERYTHING to Him.  Of course, go to the doctor.  Of course, work hard to help yourself out of financial messes.  Of course.  But first, and then next, and way before last, come to the Lord.  Unburden yourself.  ‘They do not cry to me from the heart…'(verse 14).

The Lord invites us to open up to Him.  Hold nothing back.  Don’t be a half-baked believer.  He’s heard it all before and knows all about it now.  Come to Him.  There really is no where else to go… and to no One better!

Prayer:  Lord, we come to you as to no one else. In the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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