Hosea 11:12–12:7 (NKJV)

12 “Ephraim has encircled Me with lies, And the house of Israel with deceit; But Judah still walks with God, Even with the Holy One who is faithful.

12:1 “Ephraim feeds on the wind, And pursues the east wind; He daily increases lies and desolation.  Also they make a covenant with the Assyrians, And oil is carried to Egypt.

2 “The Lord also brings a charge against Judah, And will punish Jacob according to his ways; According to his deeds He will recompense him.

3 He took his brother by the heel in the womb, And in his strength he struggled with God.

4 Yes, he struggled with the Angel and prevailed; He wept, and sought favor from Him.  He found Him in Bethel, And there He spoke to us—

5 That is, the Lord God of hosts.  The Lord is His memorable name.

6 So you, by the help of your God, return; Observe mercy and justice, And wait on your God continually.

7 “A cunning Canaanite!  Deceitful scales are in his hand; He loves to oppress.

In this passage, the Lord highlights the distinction between Ephraim and Judah, showing Judah to be somewhat more righteous that Ephraim.  Ephraim has lied to God and has pursued other nations for help instead of the Lord.  Judah is not without guilt, but has not gone as far away from God and into sin as Ephraim.  Jacob will be punished, but God remembers his strength and ability, and longs for him to return to his former glory.  He even instructs him in how to return, through observing mercy and justice and waiting on the Lord.  

God sees us in our state of sin, righteousness, or somewhere in between.  He knows where we will go in the days ahead.  He calls us to love Him, honor Him, and obey Him, so that we may avoid judgment and be blessed.  Do not continue in a path of sin.  Do not walk after the ways of evil.  Instead, walk with God and avoid the tricks and traps of a cunning Canaanite!

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