Thursday, December 5, 2019

Hosea and His Message

"Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites, because the LORD has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: “There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgement of God in the land” (Hosea 4:1).

The prophets were called by God to bring His covenant lawsuit against the nation Israel. At the beginning of his series of oracles (Hosea 4–14), Hosea summoned the nation to hear God’s charge against them. In Hosea 4:2, God charged them with breaking the Ten Commandments, mentioning cursing, murder, adultery, stealing, and lying. Not only were the people doing these evil deeds, but they were doing them repeatedly, so that “bloodshed followed bloodshed.”

God was judging the land already by letting them experience the consequences of their behavior. The land was not yielding its produce, the people were wasting away, and even the animals were dying off (Hosea 4:3). The people were litigious, constantly bringing lawsuits against one another (Hosea 4:4).

Why had this come to pass? Because the people were not faithful to God, their True Husband. They did not love Him and they did not even acknowledge Him as their sovereign (Hosea 4:1). Thus, God was going to reject them and bring them under judgment.

Ultimately, judgment came upon them because they had “rejected knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). It is a serious thing when a nation rejects the knowledge of God. A parallel in Western culture is that once, theology was regarded as the queen of the sciences and held a position of supremacy in the curricula of schools and universities. Now theology is hardly even taught, and “comparative religions,” which has usurped its place, is regarded as simply a subdivision of anthropology.

But as bad as it is for a nation to reject theology, it is even worse when the church does so (Hosea 4:6–9). How often we hear evangelical Christians say that they don’t want to wrestle with doctrinal issues. They only want a “sweeter, closer walk with Jesus.” This anti-intellectualism is reflected in some preaching and teaching, and in some songs we sing in worship.

It is a great evil when “head knowledge” is pitted against “heart knowledge.” If we don’t know what God is like, we cannot have a real relationship with Him. If we don’t know what He wants, we cannot be faithful to Him.

Are your heart and mind prepared before you hear God’s Word? Covenant fidelity is nurtured through a meditative dependence on God’s self-disclosure. Christians should grasp onto His truth with a white-knuckled grip so that God has no charge to bring against them for unfaithfulness. It is of no profit to Christians if they hold a high view of Scripture and fail to do what God has said. Start preparing yourself today.