Sermon #57 Zechariah Series
Title: My Name is Ephraim
Text: Zechariah 10:7-12
Subject: Ephraim God’s Elect
I have a good friend. I have known him and his family for a long, long time. When I first met them, their children were all babies. When the oldest boy was about 17 years old, his rebellion was such that his father had to throw him out of his house. He loved his boy. He did everything for him. His heart doted on his firstborn. He never withheld any good thing from him. He worked hard and made great sacrifices to provide for him; but his boy refused to honor his father. His behavior was bringing reproach upon the family and keeping the household in constant turmoil. Finally, his dad said to him one day, with tears in his eyes, “Son, you’re going to have to leave. Pack whatever you need and leave today.”
After a couple of weeks, when things got a little tough, when he had run out of friends to feed and lodge him, when the nights were cold and he was hungry, there was a knock at the door. There stood that boy, dirty, cold, tired, and hungry. Sobbing like a baby, he said, “I’m ready to come home.”
My friend looked at his weeping boy and said, “No. You can come home when I’m ready for you to come home,” shut the door and turned out the light. He knew his son wanted to come home and needed to come. But he also knew that he did not yet have to come. Because of his love for his son, he was determined to make him suffer, and suffer until he had to return to his father. And it wasn’t long until the poor prodigal got into such a mess that he had to return home on his father’s terms, and was willing and glad to come.
I’ve told you that story because it is a pretty good picture of the way our heavenly Father deals with his children. He cast them out that he might bring them in by his grace. You are familiar with the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. Today, I want to tell you about another prodigal. His name is Ephraim. The title of my message is — The Son God Cast Out. You will find my text in Zechariah 10. In verse 6 the Lord God says, concerning Ephraim, “They shall be as though I had not cast them off.” Ephraim is spoken of as “they” because Ephraim, Joseph’s second son, was the father of Judah. Ultimately, the whole nation of Israel was called Ephraim (Jeremiah 31:20; Hosea 7:1; 12:1; 13:1). In a word, Ephraim is the name God gave to those people who typically represented the church of his elect in the Old Testament.
In Zechariah 10:7-12 the Lord makes several promises of grace and salvation, by which he explains what he meant by the promise given in verse 6. — “They shall be as though I had not cast them off.”
1. “Ephraim shall be like a mighty man” (v. 7). — I will make poor, weak, trembling Ephraim strong.
2. “Their heart shall rejoice as through wine” (v. 7). — I will cause my downcast, mourning children to rejoice. They shall be filled with inward and spiritual joy, by the love of God shed abroad in their hearts, — by the Gospel of Christ revealed in them, and by the blessings of my grace, those streams of my everlasting love, flowing into their hearts by my Spirit. These are the things that make the hearts of God’s elect glad, like wine.
3. “Yea, their children shall see it, and be glad” (v. 7). — Seeing the great salvation God has wrought in us by his grace, as they experience it for themselves, our children shall be possessed with the same “joy of faith” in Christ that God has given us, as “fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). — “Their heart shall rejoice in the Lord” (v. 7). — They shall, join us our rejoicing. Oh, what joy that is to us! How happy we are, rejoicing in Christ, when our sons and daughters rejoice in Christ with us!
4. “I will hiss for them, and gather them” (v. 8). — Here the Lord God, our Savior, declares that he will whistle for his children. As the Good Shepherd he will whistle for his sheep, by the omnipotent, irresistible power and grace of his Spirit. And when he whistles, they shall come. His promise is, “I will hiss for them, and gather them!” — Bless God, he gathers his elect from the places into which they have been scattered in his judgment because of sin. — He gathers his children out of the ruins of fallen humanity. — He gathers chosen, redeemed sinners to Christ their Redeemer and Savior, making them willing in the day of his power, to come to him for pardon and righteousness. — This promise, we know, is sure, because our Savior declares, “For I have redeemed them” (v. 8). Redemption is the foundation of effectual calling. Sinners are saved in the experience of grace because they were redeemed by the death and sin-atoning sacrifice of Christ in their place.
5. “And they shall increase as they have increased” (v. 8). — Throughout its history, Ephraim grew and increased as a nation. And, here, the Lord God tells us that his church is an ever-increasing kingdom. The family of God is an ever-growing family. Our Savior’s quiver is not full yet; but it shall be. — “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied!”
6. “And I will sow them among the people” (v. 9). — We were scattered among the sons of men in the fall of our father Adam; but now the Lord sows us among the sons of men around the world as “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world,” as his witnesses unto all nations.
7. “And they shall remember me in far countries” (v. 9).
(Ezekiel 16:62-63) “And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: (63) That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD.”
“And they shall live with their children, and turn again” (v. 9). — When God’s elect, his adopted children, are turned to Christ, and their children, those who are also his adopted children, are turned to Christ, then they live together with one another and with Christ. — That’s family living!
Verse 10 gives a fuller declaration of God’s promise in verse 9 — “I will sow them among the people.” Here he declares that ultimately, the earth itself will not be a place sufficient for all the host of his elect to dwell (Hosea 1:10). — Ephraim means “fruitfulness;” and God makes his church, though utterly desolate by nature, indescribably fruitful!
(Zechariah 10:10) “I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them.”
(Hosea 1:10) “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.”
8. Then, in verses 11 and 12, the Lord Jesus promises that he will make every chosen, redeemed sinner triumphant and free by his omnipotent, saving grace, so triumphant that they shall pass through every sea of affliction and smite the waves that threaten them. — Every river that stands before us shall be dried as we cross it. — Every proud tyrant that seeks to oppress us shall be brought down before us. — And Egypt (the world) shall never again rule over us!
(Zechariah 10:11) “And he shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up: and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away.”
That is the salvation God has promised to Ephraim. Now, let me tell you a little bit about Ephraim, the son God cast out, to whom this salvation is promised. As I do, I hope we can all take the name Ephraim.
1. Like the prodigal son in our Lord’s parable, Ephraim left his Father’s house in the Adam fall. — “Give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.” Because of his rebellion, he was cast out (Jeremiah 7:13-16; Hosea 9:11-16).
(Jeremiah 7:13-16) “And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; (14) Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. (15) And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim. (16) Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.”
(Hosea 9:11-16) “As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception. (12) Though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them, that there shall not be a man left: yea, woe also to them when I depart from them! (13) Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place: but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer. (14) Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. (15) All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters. (16) Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb.”
2. Like the prodigal, though his glory was he left his Father’s house a glorious man, Ephraim’s glory was a fading glory (Hosea 9:11). The crown fell off his head and was trampled in the muck and mire of the streets (Isaiah 28:1-3).
(Isaiah 28:1-3) “Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine! (2) Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand. (3) The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet:”
3. And, like the prodigal, Ephraim wasted all his substance in riotous living. He was…
· Broken (Hosea 5:11). — “Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment.”
· Made Desolate (Hosea 5:13).
· A Heartless Wretch (Hosea 7:11). — “Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.”
· Turned to Uncleanness (Hosea 9:3).
· He joined himself to harlots (Hosea 4:17).
· He became shameful (Hosea 10:6).
· He hired himself lovers (Preachers) — “Ephraim hath hired lovers” (Hosea 8:9).
· He south healing from the Assyrians (Hosea 5:13).
· He ate their unclean things (Hosea 9:3).
· Ephraim fed himself on the wind (Hosea 12:1).
4. But, like the prodigal son, Ephraim was loved of God. He was the younger son, but the chosen firstborn son (Genesis 48:15-20; Jeremiah 31:19-20).
(Jeremiah 31:19-20) “Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. (20) Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD.”
· He was known of God (Hosea 5:3).
· He was under his Father’s watchful eye and constant care. — He was led by the Lord his God, though it appeared that God opposed him (Hosea 11:3, 12).
· The Lord God refused to give Ephraim up (Hosea 11:8). — “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?”
· His iniquity was hidden (Hosea 13:12) — “The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid!”
· He was dear and pleasant (Jeremiah 31:20).
5. Like the prodigal, Ephraim came to himself when his iniquity was discovered and turned to his Father (Jeremiah 31:18-20; Hosea 6:1-3).
(Jeremiah 31:18-20) “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God. (19) Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. (20) Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD.”
(Hosea 6:1-3) “Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. (2) After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. (3) Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”
6. Like the prodigal, Ephraim came home (Luke 15:20-24; Hosea 14:7-9).
(Hosea 14:7-9) “They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. (8) Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. (9) Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.”
My name is Ephraim.
My God, till I receive Thy stroke,
How like a beast was I!
So unaccustom’d to the yoke,
So backward to comply.
With grief my just reproach I bear;
Shame fills me at the thought,
How frequent my rebellions were,
What wickedness I wrought.
Thy merciful restraint I scorn’d,
And left the pleasant road;
Yet turn me, and I shall be turn’d;
Thou are the Lord my God.
“Is Ephraim banish’d from my thoughts,
Or vile in my esteem’
No,” saith the Lord, “with all his faults,
I still remember him.
“Is he a dear and pleasant child’
Yes, dear and pleasant still;
Though sin his foolish heart beguiled,
And he withstood my will.
“My sharp rebuke has laid him low
He seeks my face again;
My pity kindles at his woe,
He shall not seek in vain.”
Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com
 Date: Sunday Morning — June 10, 2007
Bethel Baptist Church, Spring Lake, NC (SAT 06/23/07)
Reading: Genesis 47:27-48:22
Tape # Zechariah #57