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Summary: 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

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The Power of knowledge

“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. Yet let no one contend, and let none accuse, for with you is my contention, O priest. You shall stumble by day; the prophet also shall stumble with you by night; and I will destroy your mother. 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 4:1-6 ESV)

The context of this passage found in Hosea was spoken almost 3000 years ago; however, it reflects a principle that is just as applicable today as when it was written. People are destroyed for lack of knowledge because they have rejected the knowledge that God has made available to them through His Holy Scripture. Let us consider the context of the text for better insight.

Before the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel to the Assyrians (722 B.C.), the prophet Hosea focused upon one of the main causes of Israel’s impending destruction, Hosea said “People of Israel listen to the Lord’s message. The Lord has something to say against those who live in this land: “The people in this land are not honest or loyal. They don’t really know God. They are always cursing, lying, killing, stealing, and committing adultery. They murder one person after another.” (4:1-2)” Why? Ignorance was a fundamental problem “My people are destroyed for lack of Knowledge.” (4:6).

Clarke's Commentary put the text in this manner “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge - They have not the knowledge of God, or of sacred things, or of their own interest, or of the danger to which they are exposed. They walk on blindly, and perish. Because thou hast rejected knowledge - So they might have become wise, had they not rejected the means of improvement.” Israel’s lack of knowledge was not mere ignorance, but active sin against God: The opening verse of the chapter4:1-2, states that Israel failed to acknowledge the LORD as their God, which offers a deeper understanding of the passage. They had “rejected” knowledge. (God’s Law), God would “reject” them. Because Israel had “forgotten” God’s Law, He would “forget” their children (He would remove His future blessing from the nation). As a result of God “rejecting” and “forgetting” Israel, they would be destroyed. Hosea’s message is in line with Moses’ warning to the nation that God would remove His blessing from a disobedient people (Deuteronomy 28).

In a similar line, Isaiah, speaking for the Lord, warned the southern kingdom of Judah of a coming time of punitive devastation: “My people are gone into captivity for lack of knowledge” (Isaiah 5:13). The prophetic curse was fulfilled in the Babylonian Captivity (606-536 B.C). Since the great truths of the Old Testament serve for our learning (“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”(Rom. 15:4), surely we can conclude that a sustained ignorance of God’s knowledge can bring nothing but disaster to the people. Hosea says “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help." Hos 13.9

In eternity past, God created everything with perfect order and law to function most wisely for his own glory, whatever comes to pass in time: and in a most holy and infallible manner executes all his decrees, without being author of the sin of any creature. Bible says “The LORD is the one who made the world by his power, who established the earth by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.” God originally made everything from nothing, perfect. He made our first parents, Adam and Eve, the root of mankind, both upright and able to keep the law written in their hearts. This law they were naturally bound to obey upon penalty of death.

God was not bound to reward their service, till he entered into a covenant or contract with them, and their posterity in them. He promised to give them eternal life, upon condition of perfect personal obedience. If they failed they would die. This is the covenant of works. Both angels and men were subject to the change of their own free will. God alone is unchangeable. Many angels of their own accord fell by sin from their first estate, and became demons. Our first parents, being enticed by Satan, broke the covenant by eating the forbidden fruit. By this action, they, and their posterity, became not only liable to eternal death, but also lost all ability to please God. They became by nature enemies to God, and to all spiritual good, and were only inclined to do evil continually.

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