“Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.” (Hosea 4:17)
Our God is longsuffering and full of mercy, but there is a line which must not be crossed. It is dangerous to presume that God will always continue to forgive; He can become a “consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).
The leaders of Ephraim (a collective term for the ten northern tribes of Israel) had passed this point of no return. They had become completely infatuated with the pantheistic polytheism of the nations, being “joined” to their symbolic models of natural forces and all the immoral practices which accompanied such nature worship. The word for “joined” means “fascinated by.” They had been brought so deeply under the occult powers behind these nature-god idols as to be irrevocably committed to them, so that it would be a waste of time and tears to try to reclaim them now.
The Scriptures contain many similar warnings. “My spirit shall not always strive with man” (Genesis 6:3). “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind” (Matthew 15:14). “There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it” (1 John 5:16). “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6). Pharaoh repeatedly “hardened his heart” against God, and finally God Himself hardened Pharaoh’s heart (e.g., Exodus 8:15; 10:27). “God gave them up” (Romans 1:24, 26, 28). … read the rest at ICR