“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” (Hosea 4:6, ESV)
Hosea is the last prophet sent to Northern Kingdom of Israel before they fell to Assyria. His ministry came on the heels of a golden age in their history where there was peace and prosperity of the likes not seen since the time of Solomon.
But there was a problem, the people where in moral decay, no longer seeking after God, and heavy into idolatry.
God instructs Hosea to marry a woman of whoredom whose unfaithfulness to her husband is an example of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God. Yet Hosea would remain faithful to his wife through all of this as an example of God’s love for His people.
The message is simple – return to God or judgment is coming. Today our message is no less complicated, return to God by believing in the name of our Lord and Savior Yeshua (Jesus) and you will be saved from God’s coming judgment.
Chapter 4 is where God brings an indictment to the people based on their violation of the covenant.
“Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel, for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens, and even the fish of the sea are taken away.” (Hosea 4:1–3, ESV)
The word in this passage is the Hebrew word daat and is from the root word yada which has the implication of intimate relationship. If you do a search on the exact use of the verbal form of this word you will come across some 140 places that it is used. Here is a verse that I think captures the idea well considering the condition of the people in the time of Hosea.
““Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant. The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers. Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires, that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.”” (1 Kings 8:56–61, ESV)
Look at the condition again of these people – swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery. Does that sound familiar – not with the world, but with God’s people! Is this not also a condition that Paul warns Timothy about regarding the last days before God’s return.
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:1–7, ESV)
History is repeating, God’s people in Hosea are destroyed for lack of knowledge, they rejected knowledge and forgot the instruction of God.
Paul in his encouragement to Timothy after this warning is about following Pauls example in all that he has taught Timothy and to hold steadfast through it all. He warned of trouble and persecution, of evil people and imposters. But to Timothy he gave simple instruction:
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14–17, ESV)
This brings me to the reason for writing this blog, we are in a time of decay in the body of Christ where people are not wanting to do the hard work of learning God’s instruction but are settling for pithy sayings, entertainment, and manipulation of the word to give them what they want to here. This is not always on purpose and it has subtly slipped into the body of Christ over time so that not even some very well intentioned leaders have noticed the issue and are caught up in the excitement of the shiny new and improved yet man created way of doing church.
Time permitted I hope to blog more on this subject in the weeks to come. May the encouragement Paul gave to Timothy ring true in our lives…“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:3–5, ESV)