How exciting to have a machine that bakes bread.  Like magic.  All it takes is adding a few ingredients, push a few buttons and out pops homemade bread in a couple of  hours.  The machine’s ringer signals that it’s time to chomp down on some delicious staff of life.  Make sure butter and jam’s ready to go.

I open the lid.  Can’t believe what I’m seeing.  Instead of a nice toasty loaf, I’m looking at a pile of gloppy goo that defies description.  Disgusting.  Disappointing.  Dreadful.  What’s happened?  Bad yeast?  Salt lost its saltiness?  No.

Plain and simply stupid–I didn’t pay attention to the order of ingredients going into the machine.  Didn’t think it mattered.  Why should it?  Legalists.  Party poopers.  Couldn’t be little old me, could it?  Then my wife tells me that I didn’t lock the bread gadget into place causing the blade, or whatever it’s called, to roll around aimlessly!  You can tell how high-tech I am.

Hosea, the Old Testament prophet knows how to grab your attention.  He’s told to take back his wife, who has the unenviable name of Gomer (no last name of Pyle, however!), who’s wandered off in sexual escapades.  There’s even more to it than that.  In chapter 7, Hosea brings God’s urgent message to ancient Israel, which should have turned a few heads, ushering in repentance, falling down at God’s feet, begging Him to set them straight.  But no.  They pay no attention.  Could care less.  Thumb their noses His way.

Hosea 7:8–‘Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned.’   This largest family group of Northern Israel mixes itself together with those who worship all kinds of gods.  False gods, like a mishmosh goulash, with God’s people giving Him only a passing nod.  Sadly, this spiritual hanky-panky catches on among His own like some current-day nasty pandemic virus. Only thing they can’t resist is adding more and more bogus gods to their worship.  Screwball hobby, collecting phony deities which aren’t kosher.  Mixed in and mixed up.  Soon to be nixed by God Almighty, the One and Only.

Like a cake not turned or a half-baked loaf of bread, burned on one side, soggy mess on the other.  Compromisers.  Mixing and matching the wrong ingredients.  Not following the Lord’s instructions.  Sound familiar?  Like our culture?  Maybe your life to a degree?  Rings in my ears.

Isn’t it time to stand up for Jesus?  For Him alone?  To mean what you say, and say what you mean?  Unashamed?  True we’re all failures and hypocrites.  Wishy-washy sweet-talkers.  This time I’m staring in the mirror.  Do I like this about me?  A people pleaser?  Not really.  Hopeless?  No.  We know who turns failure into forgiveness.  Don’t we?

So get up.  Stand up for Jesus.  No better time than right now.  Maybe no one expects it of you or me.  But shouldn’t I do what He wants?  For a change?  Not such a half-baked idea!

Lord Jesus, we want to be unashamedly yours.  Thank you.  Amen.

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