Hosea 4:6 “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.“
In this day and age of information explosion and a multiplication of human knowledge – a knowledge that pertains to the world, there is a deprivation of true knowledge, one that is a revelation of Jesus Christ and the things that are of God which is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. Humankind is making major leaps in worldly knowledge, but this verse from Hosea still rings true to this very day. Let us explore what the scriptures mean when it says “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”? The context of this verse was in relation to the people of Israel and their rejection of the law of God. It was written in the period before the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel to Assyria (around 722 B.C.), The prophet Hosea focused upon one of the causes of Israel’s impending destruction. This being a sustained ignorance to the Law of God.
Let us consider if this statement is true to the vast majority of professed Christians and the Church as well? Let us take note of this because we are to learn from previous mistakes. Romans 15:4 says “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
So what is this knowledge that people reject today and what is this knowledge that is lacking in the world today, even amongst our Christian brothers and sisters? To understand this we need to also understand what “wisdom” is? Sometimes we can confuse ourselves in thinking that wisdom and knowledge are the same thing. If not, what is the difference? Proverbs 9:10 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”
In Job 12:12 it says “Wisdom is with the ages and understanding in length of days.” First off, we can see that wisdom comes from experience, but what is the real and true source of wisdom? If we read in Job 12:13 it says “With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding.” God is the true source of wisdom. Proverbs 2:6 says “For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;” This is why scriptures tells us in Ecclesiastes 7:12 “For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him how has it.” And again in v19 saying “Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.” So the only way to gain this wisdom is to please God, it is to be obedient to Him. Ecclesiastes 2:26 says “for the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy,”
It comes down to obedience. True wisdom is to be in obedience to the Lord and the Word of God. Obedience leads to righteousness. To fear God is true wisdom – a fear that means to have a deep and abiding respect and honor for the Lord. The wisdom that comes from God is pure, as it says in James 1:5. Ask God and He will give you wisdom.
So now this leads us to question what knowledge is? You can have knowledge of a lot of things, but unless you have wisdom on how to apply your knowledge all you are left with is plain information and knowing something. In other words you can know everything that is written in the Bible. This is “knowledge” of the Bible, but unless you put it into action all you are left with is knowledge or information. The moment you use the knowledge and in obedience apply the knowledge in your life, that is wisdom. You then have wisdom and knowledge. For example, you could have an author writing a book about raising children, but if he or she does not apply this knowledge in raising his or her own children – there is no “wisdom”, just “knowledge”.
So, we who are children of the living God, born again in Him are to seek out wisdom and knowledge in this way. It is through the revealed word of God. Read the word and meditate on it. When you examine the Bible, the Bible will examine you; when you read the Word of God, the Word of God will read you; when you go through the Bible, the Bible will go through you and when you abide in the Word, the Word will abide in you.
So, when we read Hosea 4:6 and God speaks saying “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”, this lacking comes from an ignorance of the law of God. The word says, “because you have rejected knowledge”. It is a rejection of the law of God.
We as Christians and in the Church today are in a desperate need of solid biblical instruction and teaching. There is such a crisis of the Word of God in our Churches and in our homes. There is never been a time where the scriptures has been so readily available to us, even multiple copies of the Bible within our homes and churches, yet being in the midst of a crippling drought of the true Word of God. There is no life, nor light without the very essential Word of God. If you are to truly seek favor with the Lord, Jesus declared that it involves instruction, reception, comprehension and commitment. That is why it is written in John 6:45 saying “It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me-”
There are those who have low regard for the concept of biblical inspiration and authority. It has come to such a stage that it is difficult to even distinguish a Christian from a worldly person? It is often portrayed that just saying a prayer of acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ is your ticket to salvation and eternal life. We can go so far as as to making the church pleasing to the world, by regulating our worship, by appealing to an entertainment orientated culture and in the midst of all of this, throwing out the truth of the gospel, and sticking to such a basic level of Christian living that the congregation and those coming into church remain as babies of the Christian faith. Being immature in their thinking and actions creating a massive opening for false teaching and doctrines to infiltrate the church and lives of those professing Christ as their Savior. Some, in fact many may not even be truly saved. This is a dire warning. Again the words from Hosea rings true, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, because you have rejected knowledge”
This is a deadly crisis, and many will perish unless there is a resurgence of rich teaching of scriptures and a rekindling of passion for the cause of Christ within the church. An outward burst of growth in numbers is not the sign of an inward change and maturity. The true church of Christ cannot flourish if she continues to drift in the same sluggish direction. I want to encourage individuals to rise up, to spend time meditating on the word of God and not only that but to use wisdom from God to apply the scriptures into your life, so that you can truly be a light in this dark world.
So in conclusion, the Bible talks of the new covenant in this manner, in Jeremiah 31:33-34 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” This is the difference between a child of God; one who is a true follower of Christ compared to a “names sake” Christian. He or she is the one who knows the law of God and it is written in their hearts and in their minds. It is only these that are the true people of God. What is within your heart is what comes out. This shows the transformation of a new life with Christ, the old is gone and the new has come.
Luke 6:45 says “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” May this good treasure be the word of God. Do not reject the law of God, but meditate on it day and night. For such a person will stand and will not perish.
In closing let us read Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
Examine yourself and ensure that you do not lack nor reject this very precious word of God, that you may not perish but live in the fullness of all the God has already prepared beforehand for your life. Be blessed.
Jack Wellmann (article from www.patheos.com)
Jackson, Wayne (https://www.christianscourier.com/articles/771-my-people-are-destroyed-for-a-lack-of-knowledge)
All Bible readings taken from the English Standard Version (ESV)