God's tone in Chapter 11 softens, but beginning in 11:12, He once again focuses on their choices that led to this disastrous ending.
- Ephraim is uselessly feeding on the wind, no nourishment or satisfaction.
- Ephraim surrounds God and His house with lies and deceit.
- Judah is also unruly against God, even the faithful Holy One.
- They continually pursue Egypt and Assyria, instead of relying on the Lord.
- Multiplies lies and violence
When we don't take our nourishment, protection, and direction from the Lord, we end up without what need and in a mess.
Judah is also included in the Lord's disputes.
The Lord takes His disputes all the way back to Jacob, who contended with his brother in the womb and with God as an adult. Wrestling with an angel and winning the favor of God. Meeting Him at Bethel.
He asks Israel and Judah to return to the Lord. He warns them that they are taking their prosperity as a sign of their own ability to provide for themselves; but He assures them that they will live in tents again. He also reminds them of how many times He reached out though His prophets; but they remained idolatrous.
He ends the chapter be returning to Jacob, fleeing to Aram and working for Rebecca's brother to earn the hand of his wife. And by Moses the Lord led them out of Egypt and sustained them. But Ephraim sinned and will find judgement.
The Lord has always provided for Jacob and his descendants-instead of seeing that, they took credit for their prosperity and ended up in such iniquity it would lead to their destruction.
Warren Wiersbe opens his commentary on this chapter with Hebrews 12:6 and Proverbs 3:11-12, noting that the chastens those He loves. Not as a judge upholding the law; but as a parent guiding the right way. He also distinguished between discipline intended to correct behavior and that of a coach who is disciplining an athlete to push themselves to find their full potential.
I thought that was appropriate because there are times when we have difficulties because we've made a mess of that which has been given by God. But there are also difficulties that don't seem to be tied to my behavior, but I do grow and learn from.