“Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone,” Hosea 4:17.
The northern kingdom’s common name was ‘Israel,’ but was often called ‘Ephraim’ which had become the dominant tribe after their rebellion from Solomon’s son, I Kings 12. The history of that kingdom was of rebellion until God finally gave them up. Although Ephraim was called God’s firstborn, Jeremiah 31:9, 20, God, in anguish cries out: “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim,” Hosea 11:8.
Following the Biblical history, we find that God’s plan to redeem them was to create a New Covenant, which He did in the blood of Christ, Jeremiah 31:31; Matthew 26:27-28. Through this New Covenant, the remnant of Israel could turn back again and be accepted of God. The promises were only to that remnant who accepted Christ’s blood covenant.
“Let them alone:”
Jesus came to the nation of Israel but was rejected by the people through the influence of their leaders, the Pharisees. He had told His disciples: “Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up. Let them alone [the Pharisees] they be blind leaders of the blind and if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch,” Matthew 15:13-14.
But Jesus, too, was wracked with grief for His people who had rejected Him: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate,” Matthew 23:37-38. And again the New Covenant was offered to “whosoever will,” that would repent and come back to Him.
The Most Dangerous Condition
For those who have known God and yet live in rebellion, God gives them up to a reprobate mind, Romans 1:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12. Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-31. This is a most dangerous condition spiritually.
But God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, 2 Peter 3:9. He rejoices over every soul that comes to repentance, Matthew 18:11-14.