Ephraim feeds on the wind and pursues the east wind all day long… (Hosea 12:1 ESV)
The Lord contends with Israel in Hosea 12 for feeding and following the winds. It is an odd statement. But it begins to make sense as the Lord lays forth his argument in the following verses.
The Lord argues with the following of the wind by reminding the people of the facts of his working with their ancestors. He points to Jacob’s wrestling nature and becoming a new man after encountering God (12:3-4). He points them to his speaking through the prophets (v 10). He points them to his salvation through Moses (v 13). The Lord points the people to the facts in his Word as a picture of his character and actions.
The Lord is contending with Ephraim’s feeding and following the wind by pointing to the facts. Rather than following the shifting winds of feelings, the Lord says to follow the facts in the Word.
Feelings are not wrong in and of themselves, but the Lord condemns the following of feelings when they lead to actions contrary to God’s character and the facts of Scripture. Ephraim had fallen into the trap of following the winds of society, which led to destructive ends (despite seeming right to the people), rather than following God (v 1).
Today, we must ask ourselves if we are those who are faithfully following and standing firm on the facts of God’s character, commands and actions as laid out in the Word, or if we are like Ephraim who are feeding of the ever changing winds of the world regarding morality, character, and spirituality. The former may be uncomfortable and unpopular at times, but the latter, though seemingly wise at the time, ultimately leads to destruction.