Hosea 7:1–10 (NKJV)
7:1 “When I would have healed Israel,
Then the iniquity of Ephraim was uncovered,
And the wickedness of Samaria.
For they have committed fraud;
A thief comes in;
A band of robbers takes spoil outside.
2 They do not consider in their hearts
That I remember all their wickedness;
Now their own deeds have surrounded them;
They are before My face.
3 They make a king glad with their wickedness,
And princes with their lies.
4 “They are all adulterers.
Like an oven heated by a baker—
He ceases stirring the fire after kneading the dough,
Until it is leavened.
5 In the day of our king
Princes have made him sick, inflamed with wine;
He stretched out his hand with scoffers.
6 They prepare their heart like an oven,
While they lie in wait;
Their baker sleeps all night;
In the morning it burns like a flaming fire.
7 They are all hot, like an oven, And have devoured their judges; All their kings have fallen. None among them calls upon Me.
8 “Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned.
9 Aliens have devoured his strength, But he does not know it; Yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, Yet he does not know it.
10 And the pride of Israel testifies to his face, But they do not return to the Lord their God, Nor seek Him for all this.
The analogy of a baker who heats his oven, then sleeps all night while the bread rises with yeast is a picture of Israel’s lacksadaisical attitude toward its relationship with God. The oven is so hot that it can stay hot and bake all night. However, when they sleep all night with the cake in the oven, it gets overdone on one side because they did not rise up to turn it over. It is kind of like a pancake that never gets turned, and is burned on one side, but raw on the other.
The leadership of Israel has become so reliant on their prior favor with God that they do not see the need to tend to their behavior, rather sleeping (or sleepwalking) through their lives, drunk on power and false religion in order to feel secure and complacent spiritually. In this environment, they commit crimes against each other and against other nations, and violate the covenant with Yahweh. Only one king in the latter existence of Israel, Menahem, was not assasinated. They kill one another and the kings of other nations with impunity. They ignore God, and are failing (the gray hair reference refers to their premature aging that is sneaking up on them) and seem to have no awareness of their plight.
Prosperity–or false security–can have a deliterious effect on one’s spiritual life. When an individual or a nation feels that the blessings of the past are secure for the future, one of two things can happen. Either one lives in appreciation of those blessings and continues to cultivate a strong relationship with the Blesser, or else one becomes complacent and ceases to work at that relationship, assuming that the Blesser will continue to bless in spite of the blessees faithfulness. God is looking for thankful, faithful people to remain commited to the covenant. He longs to bless His people, but He will not be mocked. That which He requires does not change. In the covenant of grace in which we now live, God is looking for thankful, appreciative love that will not fade away. Give Him that love, and the blessings will come, for He loves you.