"A Cake Unturned"

"Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned" - Hos 7:8 ESV.

There is an intriguing statement by Jesus in Revelation 3:16 when He chided the church of Laodicea: "I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth" (Rev 3:15-16 ESV).

When I look at this statement, I can't help but compare the quandary that a lukewarm church creates to a refreshing or satisfying drink. Ask an average person what he prefers to drink and he would choose either a hot or a cold drink but not a lukewarm one. In fact the only conceivable instance where someone may choose a lukewarm drink is if that person is sick and drinking hot or cold would wosen his condition. Otherwise, a lukewarm drink doesn't satisfy.

In today's passage, God also rebukes the tribe of Ephraim for having mixed themselves up with other people around them. It has always been the desire of the Lord for Israel to be a unique people but their uniqueness is lost because of intermarriage, alliances and such with other races. They have acquired also the idols of the pagans with whom they associate and they might as well be as pagan as their neighbors. Describing them as such, God had to liken them to a "cake unturned" - burnt on the one side and raw on the other. Such is the state of man who doesn't know who he is. A man who tries to be like everyone and end up being no one. Just like Laodicea - neither hot nor cold.

If something is working, we enjoy its usefulness. If it is broken, we either repair it or we replace it. But if something is sometimes working and sometimes not, you can't rely on it at all. You can't place it properly for use because it may just go broke on you just when you need it most. That's the problem with a cake which is neither properly cooked nor raw. If it's the former then you can already enjoy your freshly baked pastry. If it's the latter then you need to put it in the oven first and enjoy it later. But a cake burnt on one side and raw on the other is beyond consumption nor redemption. It is trashed.

If we apply that unturned cake to a man, it can be a person who is unredeemed, unchanged and untouched by the grace of God. It's hard to place such a man. In his best moment he can appear like a very godly person. In his worst, he can be like the devil. You can of course appeal only to his good side but always be aware of the threat that he can go ballistic on you anytime. He is a mixed character, not properly turned to be good. Had he been all bad you can decide to steer clear of such a person. But his occasional goodness can be deceiving and many may fall victim to it.

As a child of God, we may have remnant of such characteristic as Ephraim. We may act like a godly person on Sundays and like someone else so remotely different on weekdays. We may have a public life that's so ideal and private one that's so abominable. A cake unturned is what we are and we can only appeal to the Lord to remake us, to turn us and make us whole. We can't be a source of confusion for ourselves and others like that spring that James describes as pouring forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water, useless for all sense and purposes and badly in need of God's transforming grace.

(Photo credit: reddit.com)