Summary: Knowledge is a powerful tool for us. We need to know God; His scriptures; current events; and our history to keep from being destroyed.
Hosea 4:6 (ESV):
6 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.
Knowledge is a powerful force. We live out what we know from deep within. Yet, without knowledge the scripture says we will perish. The nation of Israel forgot their God; they lost knowledge of Him. As a result the nation perished. Let’s consider the levels of knowledge that they lacked and apply them to us.
• They lacked knowledge of the Scriptures
In Jesus’ high priestly prayer He mentioned “truth.” In John 17:17 (ESV) He said:
17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
Here Jesus equates the word of God with truth. The reality of the word of God is that it is applicable in all areas of life. Through it, as Paul stated, we are made complete for our tasks. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
• They lacked knowledge of God Himself
Knowing scripture is good an important. Scripture leads us to the One from whom it originated. I have a box of letters between an uncle and his wife during WWII. Reading the letters means little except I knew the two who wrote them. We want Bible knowledge, but that knowledge leads us to know God and reflect on who He is.
Paul said it like this in Philippians 3:10 (ESV):
10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection,
• They lacked knowledge of what was going on in their culture
One way they and we can be destroyed is by thinking life is just “business as usual.” Things change in life and we must be aware of the changes and make necessary adjustments. If we don’t, we will perish because we didn’t pay attention.
When David was at Hebron, groups of soldiers came to him. Among them were men from Issachar. They had a wisdom that would help David. Notice 1 Chronicles 12:32 (ESV)
32 Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do,
We need to pay attention to what is going on around us. As we do, we need to act as one of my teachers once said, “Always question the answers.” Sometimes the things we see aren’t really what is going on. There is something deeper and often more sinister than the surface. Dig deeper. See for yourself. Question the answers. Pay attention to the times in which we live. Right now everything is turned upside down. We must pay attention!
• They lacked knowledge of their history
Roots and fruits go together. When a nation knows where it came from and who it was intended to be, it can carry out that direction. Take away the roots, the foundation of nation and it can be led wherever a tyrant will take it.
Too often Israel forgot who they were. They forgot whose they were. They forgot the covenant God made with Abraham and the responsibilities He placed on them. Instead, they wanted to be like the other nations. They wanted a king because they couldn’t be satisfied with having God lead them. They wanted the gods of the land because they couldn’t be satisfied with the worship and direction of the living God.
Several times in scripture God reminds them of where they came from and where they were to go. The book of Deuteronomy is a recap of the history of Israel for the young generation that was about to enter the Promised Land and had not seen the Egypt events. They needed the memory of their history.
America has the same need. Repeatedly our Founding Fathers gave credit to God for the establishment of the nation. Yet, today many have forgotten our roots. Tyrants are leading us further and further away from our destiny under God. We must know where we have been in order to know where we are to go.
In a letter to John Rodger on June 11, 1783, George Washington wrote of the providence of God.
“Glorious indeed has been our Contest: glorious, if we consider the Prize for which we have contended, and glorious in its Issue; but in the midst of our Joys, I hope we shall not forget that, to divine Providence is to be ascribed the Glory and the Praise.”
Have we forgotten the aid of God in our roots as a nation? We can know by our fruits. If we have forgotten the calling of God we can be led away from the direction He intended for us.