Hear the word of the Lord, you children of Israel, for the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed. Therefore the land will mourn; and everyone who dwells there will waste away with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air; even the fish of the sea will be taken away. Now let no man contend, or rebuke another; for your people are like those who contend with the priest. Therefore you shall stumble in the day; the prophet also shall stumble with you in the night; and I will destroy your mother. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. The more they increased, the more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of My people; they set their heart on their iniquity. And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their deeds. For they shall eat, but not have enough; they shall commit harlotry, but not increase; because they have ceased obeying the Lord. (Hosea 4:1-10)
When Knowledge Goes Away
The books of the prophets are seldom read and infrequently studied to learn lessons for today. Sadly one of the richest fields of knowledge in scripture that remains untapped is found between Isaiah and Malachi. This fertile soil abounds with the testimony of man’s failure to find wisdom in his own will challenging the word of God with disdain. It should always be remembered these books contain the writings of the chosen people of the Lord. They were bound by a law written down hundreds of years earlier by Moses. There could be no excuse for their rebellion.
Hosea lived in a time of great evil. The children of God were following the pollutions of the land rejecting all the admonitions of the Law. In this small section of scripture the prophet shows the underlying cause of the misery that was to come upon them. Without the word of God there was no truth or mercy. The knowledge of right and wrong comes from either man or from Heaven. Rejecting scripture Israel had gone after its own lusts. The result was a land filled with immorality, murder, stealing and hatred. From the King of Israel to the lowly peasant sin filled every corner of society.
The knowledge of God was thrown aside for the carnal desires of the flesh. Society laughed with scorn the Creator and His revealed word. Abraham’s descendants had turned aside to the knowledge of hedonism. The law of the Lord was forgotten and they stopped listening to the word of God. What they could not see in their headlong pursuit of wickedness was how it was destroying the nation. The headlines of the day were filled with murder, immorality, debauchery, crime and a lust for living for the moment. And then it all came to an end. Judgment came in the form of the Assyrian and Babylonian armies massacring the multitudes and taking the remnant captive.
Reading the prophets is like reading the news today. One cannot help but be impressed with how closely the events of Hosea match with the events in America today. Where is truth and mercy? What has happened to the knowledge of God in this land? Why is the church of Christ today filled with saints who have little or no knowledge of His word? How many can remember the word of the Lord? Where is the obedience in the lives of the chosen people of God? The most important lesson of Hosea 4 is the knowledge of judgment. As God punished Israel so will the judgment of America be meted out. The prophet calls for repentance. Hosea is still preaching today. Listen.
Because we [Americans] are out of the will of God we have lost the will to do right. (Billy Graham, Sermon, New York, May, 1957)