“Ephraim has Become a Cake not Turned” (Hosea 7.8)
by Greg Circle
We have a saying in our home (and perhaps it’s a common saying) about making pancakes. “The first one is for the dog.” If you don’t heat the pan or griddle properly before putting that first bit of batter on, the pancake is ruined before you flip it. Perhaps this is the lesson of Hosea 7.
Unlike today, when we can more precisely regulate the temperature of our stove tops, fire introduces more variables that make control difficult. The baker of v. 4 was not tending his oven, keeping it ready during the rising of the dough, so he is a great example of the leadership of the unfaithful (see Hosea 4.4-10). They are not lighting a fire underneath them to keep‘em cookin’.
So, the people of the northern kingdom, Israel, become like a cake that doesn’t get done enough on the sides and top – still too liquid to flip. The problem is, the temperature of the iron, being unregulated, is still increasing. The bottom of the pancake is burned, inedible, before the top even starts to get hot. Dogs love burnt pancakes.
What are the lessons for us?
- Good teaching is needed to keep people seeing the need to be faithful to God. The leadership is in this world with us. They help us to see that we face the fire of God’s wrath. We need to repent and be faithful to God. (Yes, we are fellow-pancakes, but only take the illustration as far as it goes).
- When the bubbles forming on the top don’t fill back in, the pancake is crying out, “Flip me over, chef!”. When you’re done with facing the world, you need to flip over (repent) and face God.
- Don’t stick to the pan. The world is warm, but that warmth turns into the fire of a destructive judgment. Even if you’ve been flipped (convinced of the truth of God’s word and have repented, you can’t stay too long, or you’ll still get burned. When you’re baptized, God takes you off the fire (Colossians 2.12), and you become fit for His purpose (Romans 12.1-2)
Don’t be a burned pancake fit only to be consumed by the animals of this world and Satan, their master.