A Stubborn Heifer
During the State Fair of Texas Mary and I love watching the youth show their animals. For kids in ag, it can mean big bucks. Today the Fair schedule says it’s time to move in Beefmaster, Brangus, Red Brangus, Santa Gertrudis, Simbrah, Simmental, Star 5 and ARB. You might not recognize all these breeds, but one thing you can count on is that these are the big meat cattle, a lot of beef on the hoof. The young exhibitors are also moving the breeding sheep into the Swine Barn.
When it comes time for the show, if a twelve hundred pound Beefmaster heifer decides she’s not going to move, the student with the halter is in big trouble. On the other hand, the student with the eighty-pound lamb might still have a problem, but when their lamb was only twenty pounds and it acted up, you simply pick her up and set her where you want her to be.
Hosea wasn’t in Texas ag, but he knew his animals. When he wanted to drive home his point that Ephraim, the dominant Israelite tribe in the North, was acting out and resisting God, he said she was a stubborn heifer. The tragedy was that the LORD wanted to gather them like young lambs in his arms and settle them in green pastures.
“Though you play the promiscuous woman, O Israel, let not Judah become guilty. Don’t go to Gilgal, and do not go up to Beth Aven. And do not swear to say, ‘The LORD lives!’ Indeed, the Israelites are stubborn, like a stubborn heifer. Now how can the LORD pasture them like lambs in a meadow? Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone! Even when their beer is gone, they continue to fornicate. Their leaders dearly love shame. A wind will wrap them up in its wings and they will come to shame on their altars.” Hosea 4:15-19
In the Book of Joshua Gilgal was the first place that Israel camped after they crossed the Jordan (Josh. 5:2-9), but by Hosea’s time, it had become one of the centers of immoral, idolatrous worship. In the story of Jacob Bethel was the place where he saw the stairway to heaven (Gen. 28:10-22), but Hosea calls it not the “House of God,” but the “House of Emptiness.” Israelites went to these false religious centers and piously said, “The LORD lives,” but Hosea warned those to the south in Judah to stay away from these centers of immorality, drunkenness, idolatry, and cultic sex.
LORD, today carry me like a gentle lamb to the places you want me to go and protect me from a stubborn spirit that could turn me into a recalcitrant, Beefmaster heifer.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!