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hos 12.8In Hosea 12:7-8 we read, “A cunning Canaanite! Deceitful scales are in his hand; he loves to oppress. 8 And Ephraim said, ‘Surely I have become rich, I have found wealth for myself; in all my labors they shall find in me no iniquity that is sin.’” Here we see the Arrogance and continuing Deceit of Israel.

Did you catch that? God calls Israel a “cunning Canaanite.” The term not only referred to them inhabiting the Land of Canaan, but the word Canaan means “dishonest merchant.” The people who lived there gave the place its name by their reputation. It was “Cheatville.” It refers to a businessman who is selling things and cheating his customers with dishonest weights and scales. Deuteronomy 25:13 says, “You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a heavy and a light.” And Proverbs 11:1 reminds us, “Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight.”

The deception being referenced here is weighing items to decide how much needed to be paid for them. Imagine if the scale was off. If it said the item you were buying was heavier than it really is. This is theft. A modern day equivalent by the way, when you buy that 13.5 ounce bag of chips at the store for $2.98 with a coupon and don’t realize the next time you buy that bag of chips that it is 10 ounces being sold for $2.98 with a coupon! Same size bag. More air. Same concept. Charge more for less.

Dishonesty we are told is an abomination to the Lord. And what has Hosea been charging Israel and Judah with? Deception. Dishonesty. Rejection of the truth! They have been caught. They have been exposed. Yet there is no repentance. Instead when the dishonest scales are found right there in their hands, the nation proclaims, “But I am rich!” Read it there, “I have become rich, I have found wealth for myself; in all my labors they shall find in me no iniquity that is sin.” Basically the response is that Israel believes that they have done nothing wrong and the proof is seen in that they are rich! They got rich by deception but think deception cannot be labelled sin because they got rich – riches equal innocence and blessing. Prosperity preachers eat your heart out! “If it was wrong surely we wouldn’t be getting so rich!” Oh, the lies they have believed.

And notice they say this is iniquity, but not sin. What is the difference? Remember iniquity is something that is self-serving. They admit to being self-serving but do not see or admit that it is sin.

The people really were acting like Canaanites. When they went into Canaan what were they told to do? It was a land to be conquered and a people to be judged for their wickedness. Instead they did not obey the Lord and instead of conquering Canaan they were corrupted by Canaan and became themselves just like the Canaanites. In Romans 12:2 we learn that we are to be “transformed” and not “conformed.” To conform means to be molded like something else, to copy the world. To be transformed is the word “metamorpho” and refers to being changed.

Israel conformed to Canaan. We must not be conformed to the world. We must be transformed, changed, metamorphosed by renewing our minds with the Word of God. Yet we do what Israel did – we go looking everywhere else for what we need first rather than going to the Word of God. Is God’s Word sufficient? Yes. We need to live like it!

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