“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge:” Hosea 4:6
That verse has been used many ways. I’ve heard some preach it in regards to those lacking prosperity. They would say that because the poorer lack the necessary knowledge to succeed, they don’t. That’s partially true. I’ve heard others say that the knowledge that people lack is knowledge of the gospel and Christ’s saving power. That is even more true. Many people, even in this United States, are not aware that Christ can save them and make them a new creature in him. They may have experienced some religion, but not that saving, changing religion that only Jesus Christ can give. But to get the true meaning of this verse, we must read a little further.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Israel’s problem was that they lacked knowledge, like many in the world, and even in the church. But the reason was that they had rejected the knowledge that was once available to them. When you read the rest of the verse, God is telling them that they forgot the law so he would forget their children. After this, the northern kingdom of Israel went into captivity about one hundred years before the southern kingdom of Judah. They stayed in that condition for centuries and now the entire nation is still struggling. We know that God is not finished with Israel but rejecting knowledge has a great price.
We, in America, have been given much knowledge of the scriptures. We have available to us an inexhaustible supply of materials that can help provide the knowledge of God’s Word. The Old Testament law had several parts; governmental, ceremonial, moral, cleanliness, and holiness. While the law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, it was also provided in order to make the Jews a separate people who could live in harmony with God and be effective for him on the earth. The moral aspects of the law re still with us and are translated into the New Testament. The church has this knowledge available to keep it a separate body, but is rejecting it. We are seeing the church so close to the world today that it is very difficult to tell which is which. Preaching against sin is becoming less and less and the knowledge of the Word of God is being rejected in place for modern teachers who can make us feel good. Paul was right when he wrote about the perils of the last days.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:3-4
The flesh likes what makes it feel good. We all like someone to pat us on the head and tell us we are doing good. What we don’t like is someone telling us we are doing something wrong. This is why Paul continues to admonish Timothy in the following verse. “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” Timothy would endure afflictions for preaching the gospel just like today. But we must trust in his Word and do our best, with God’s help, to obey it. Living the Christian life is not just a Sunday thing. No where in the Word of God do I find that, but living for him is a 24x7 thing. If we want to be able to call on him anytime 24x7, we should expect we are going to have to be his 24x7.