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Do Not Be Deceived
[ Hosea 11:12 - 12:14 ]
12. Ephraim has surrounded me with lies, the house of Israel with deceit. And Judah is unruly against God, even against the faithful Holy One.
1. Ephraim feeds on the wind; he pursues the east wind all day and multiplies lies and violence. He makes a treaty with Assyria and sends olive oil to Egypt.
2. The LORD has a charge to bring against Judah; he will punish Jacob according to his ways and repay him according to his deeds.
3. In the womb he grasped his brother's heel; as a man he struggled with God.
4. He struggled with the angel and overcame him; he wept and begged for his favor. He found him at Bethel and talked with him there-
5. the LORD God Almighty, the LORD is his name of renown!
6. But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.
7. The merchant uses dishonest scales; he loves to defraud.
8. Ephraim boasts, "I am very rich; I have become wealthy. With all my wealth they will not find in me any iniquity or sin."
9. "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt; I will make you live in tents again, as in the days of your appointed feasts.
10. I spoke to the prophets, gave them many visions and told parables through them."
11. Is Gilead wicked? Its people are worthless! Do they sacrifice bulls in Gilgal? Their altars will be like piles of stones on a plowed field.
12. Jacob fled to the country of Aram ; Israel served to get a wife, and to pay for her he tended sheep.
13. The LORD used a prophet to bring Israel up from Egypt, by a prophet he cared for him.
14. But Ephraim has bitterly provoked him to anger; his Lord will leave upon him the guilt of his bloodshed and will repay him for his contempt.

The Power of Deception (11:12–12:6)
Israel lives deep in deception. They believe lies, they tell themselves lies, they tell others lies, and they tell God lies. Their behavior is described as feeding on and chasing after the wind, illustrating their duplicitous and futile lifestyle. But the LORD gives Israel hope through the story of Jacob. Jacob was a selfish and deceitful man, until one evening when he encountered God face-to-face and was dramatically changed as a result (Gen. 32:22–32). If Jacob was able to change his ways, Israel can change, too. They simply need to return to the LORD and replace their lies and violence with truth and justice.

The Price of Deception (12:7–14)
Because Israel is wealthy and prosperous, they assume that God approves of their deceitful methods. What they do not realize is that God sees everything and that their punishment is surely coming. Like the people of Israel, we become numb to sin when we keep it hidden and fool ourselves into thinking there will be no consequences. But we must understand that all sin will eventually be exposed—maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but certainly on judgment day. To fight the battle against sin, we must bring our sin into the light, for only then are we able to realize how repulsive it truly is. Expose your sins by confessing them to God. When we surrender our hearts to Him, we allow the light of the cross to dispel the darkness within our hearts.

- What lies do you tell yourself? Are there any lies you have been telling God or others? Repent of your deceitfulness, and ask God to fill you with His truth.

- Are there any sins you are trying to hide from God? Confess them to God and receive the grace that He wants to pour into your heart.

A Letter to
Father, expose any lies I believe and fill me with truth. Reveal to me the perversion of my sins and lead me to repentance. Thank you for the mercy and forgiveness You offer through the cross of Christ. In His name. Amen.
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