The guilt of Ephraim is wrapped up; His sin is stored up. The pains of childbirth come on him; He is not a wise son, For it is not the time that he should delay at the opening of the womb.
Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from death?
Death, where are your thorns? Sheol, where is your sting?
Compassion will be hidden from My sight.
That which is, is what has already been, and that which will be has already been; and God seeks what has passed by.Ecclesiastes 3:15
Why is the house of Israel not yet gathered? And, what happens next?
In this week’s Torah Portion, Vayigash, we read that Yosef provided a place of safety for his family in Goshen. Genesis 47:27 and Exodus 1 indicate that God’s purpose was to bless and multiply Israel in Egypt, but His purpose was not for them to become so comfortable that they stayed. His intent, expressed in Genesis 15:13-16, was that His people would return to the Land from Egypt.
The text does not tell us if Israel tried to leave Egypt, but by Exodus 1, it is clear that God has to allow bondage and forced labor to cause enough misery to Israel that they would flee the comforts of Egypt.
Today, the scattered house of Israel, aka Ephraim, is comfortable in Egypt/Babylon. We have multiplied greatly and been blessed exceedingly, but we are a fat lazy heifer. We are not ready to return to the Land and have little, if any, motivation to come together or seriously seek the Father for access to the Land.
Ephraim is a child who refuses birth, an unwise son.
What has been, will be again.
The pains of childbirth will be steadily ramped up to force us into the birth canal to be birthed as a people. If we will not willingly come together, if we will not cease to negotiate the terms with the Living Elohim, then He will act! He is covenant bound to do so. Events in the world are being driven by Abba for the express purpose of smacking the Prodigal into clear thinking and instilling a desire to return to the Land.
A final thought: When a baby is born, it is head down. Are we bowed low in prayer pleading with YHVH to take us home? Pleading? Is the simple request for restoration of Israel in our every prayer, every time of worship? Is the request so fervently on our lips that we breath it in and out through the day? Does it enter our dreams at night?
Or, must we be pressed hard to force us to turn?