Sin and Its Effects

Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone– Hosea 4:17

This is one of the saddest statements in Scripture. The people of Ephraim had become so attached to their idols that God finally says, “Let them alone.”

In one sense, this command may relate to the prophet Hosea’s interactions with these people: “Let them alone; do not make friends with them; do not accept counsel from them; do not join yourself to them.”

This is the same counsel Jesus gave concerning the Jewish leaders, who consistently rejected God’s revelation to them: Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matthew 15:14). Don’t follow the lead of those who are so glued to their personal idols and selfish ambitions that they reject the authority of Christ upon their lives.

But primarily it is clear that God is here informing Hosea that, as a prophet, he will no longer be given any message for the people of Ephraim. God will not be speaking to them anymore. They have persisted in rebellion and idolatry so long, and so unrelentingly, that God determines to leave them to their misery.

What a terrifying reality this is! To be so hardened in sin that God no longer even speaks to you!

Do not trust your own strength or wisdom or goodness so much that you make fast friends with idolaters and expect to stay holy. Do not presume upon God’s mercy and put off repentance — the Holy Ghost Himself says, “Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 3:7-8).