Half-Baked Cakes

I love this photo of Paula and two of my grandchildren baking Christmas goodies. Paula carries on a baking tradition taught to her by her mother. After preparing all sorts of tasty items, most of what was prepared was then given away to others in need. Paula’s family would often visit a pastor friend who had a mission in an Arkansas town and they would take food to the homeless, helpless and the seemingly hopeless. It would have been easier to stop by a nearby bakery and pick up the “day old” items on the cheap, but part of the joy came from personally preparing the goods and then watching smiles light up a room when those items were given away. To this day, Paula will bake and cook and then give most of it away especially at Christmas time. Meticulous is the best word to describe her baking. No “a little of this and a little of that” for her. Her recipes are to be followed explicitly. The time and temperature settings on the oven are not to be tampered with. Cookies, cakes, bread, biscuits and pancakes just about float in the air. At least it seems that way to me. Committed To Cakes I find it most interesting that the Bible frequently refers to baking and bakers. For example, Hosea 7:8 is a striking metaphor comparing “half-baked” cakes to people who are less than committed in their devotion and walk with God. In this text there is the description of the unpleasant taste of a half-baked cake. One has to also ponder a possible implication of an irresponsible baker who allowed such to get into the flow of commerce. It’s one thing to concoct an unpleasant, incomplete and distasteful product of ones misaligned creativity, and yet another to be so careless as to allow others to be contaminated, poisoned and sickened by the frivolous distribution of such a thing. It’s one thing to concoct an unpleasant, incomplete and distasteful product of ones misaligned creativity, and yet another to be so careless as to allow others to be contaminated, poisoned and sickened by the frivolous distribution of such a thing. The prophet Hosea used the tribe of Ephraim as a poetic representation of the northern kingdom of Israel. In a colorful admonition, he wrote that Ephraim had become “a cake unturned” (Hosea 7:8). In today’s terminology, the prophet might have said that Ephraim was “half-baked.” The people were like a pancake burned on one side but completely undone on the other. Although they took advantage of the Lord’s goodness, they did not seek Him with their heart. When they needed help, they turned to other sources (vv.10-11,14-16). They had become tasteless and useless to God, so He was forced to judge them. The Mercy And Grace of God Jesus echoed the words of the prophet. Although He had gentle words for penitent sinners, He gave a scathing rebuke to the haughty and self-righteous who wanted to live as they pleased. He was furious at two-faced religious people who talked a good talk but turned around and harmed and exploited their followers (Matthew 23:13-30). The only fitting response to God’s mercy and grace is to serve Him in humility and love. God is never soft on sin. He sent His only Son to redeem us from sin’s penalty (John 3:16). Let’s not be half-baked Christians, claiming God’s forgiveness but still living as we please. The only fitting response to God’s mercy and grace is to serve Him in humility and love. Tim Hill

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