Week 4, Monday: Destroyed for lack of knowledge
The heart and core of God’s problem with Israel was that there was no heart or core of love for Him in them. Religion in Israel had become a tool of politics and a matter of convenience. They “worshiped” God, of course, but they also traveled to the high places, altars, and brothels of various foreign deities, as many as they preferred, all for the purpose of obtaining the good life as they saw it.
Sadly, the good life as they saw it would bring them to ruin, destruction, captivity, and death, precisely as God had warned (Prov. 14.12).
Read Hosea 4
Meditate on Hosea 4.1-6
1. Note that word, “Hear.” Hosea’s book began as a series of messages proclaimed in public forums to the people of Israel. What kind of risk did this involve on Hosea’s part? Why do you suppose he was willing to take that risk?
2. This is almost a courtroom scene. God stands up as the prosecuting attorney, speaking through His prophet, to lay out His “charge” against the nation of Israel. Meditate on Psalm 50. This psalm is set in the context of worship, in which God is reviewing His people. What “charges” does He set before them here? Is worship a proper context for this sort of thing? It is possible that Hosea was preaching like this in worship services around the nation of Israel, or perhaps in Samaria, the capital. Should you see your church’s worship service as a time of gathering before God to have your life reviewed by Him? What are the implications for this as a framework for thinking about worship?
3. Summarize God’s charges against His people as we see them in verses 1 and 2. According to verse 3, what does God promise as a consequence of this?
4. Verses 4 and 5 are intended to preclude any blame-laying, whether neighbors, priests, or prophets, or even one’s parents. Meditate on Genesis 3.1-6. Blame-laying is a natural tendency of sinners. What is the proper response to having your sins exposed?
5. Verse 6 lays bear the real issue: Israel does not “know” the Lord. In this verse, to what is “not knowing” the Lord compared? Jesus said the Law of God teaches us to love God and our neighbors (Matt. 22.34-40). Paul said the Law is holy and righteous and good (Rom. 7.12). James wrote that we should all live as though we expected to be judged by the Law of God (Jms. 2.12). John wrote that the Law of God marks out the path of discipleship (1 Jn. 2.1-6). How would you describe the status of the Law of God in your church? In your life?
They who reject God’s Law reject His Spirit as well (Rom. 8.5-9). Without the Spirit and Word of God, beginning with His Law, we cannot possibly know the Lord. And if we will not know the Lord this way, we should expect to hear His rebuke when we come before Him for review. What’s the most important message to take away from God’s charge against His people?
Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.
Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;
According to Your mercy remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.
T. M. Moore
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A primary theme of the book of Hosea is Israel’s failure to keep covenant with the Lord. God’s covenant is a central theme and provides the organizing motif for all of Scripture. Learn more about God’s covenant by ordering a copy of T. M.’s book, I Will Be Your God, from our online store (click here).
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.