The Book of the Twelve (Minor Prophets) 06: Hosea (4) Lack of the Knowledge of God
Hosea (part 4): The Lack of the Knowledge of God
The Covenant Fulfilled - The story of Israel is seen in the story of Hosea and his wayward wife, Gomer. This is seen plainly in Hosea 3: “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her ‘husband,’ yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods. . . 3:5 Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king.” After generations of apostasy in the Northern Kingdom (Israel), God would scatter them in Assyria and then exile the Southern Kingdom, Judah. But finally Christ (‘David’) would gather the remnant of Israel and they would bow to Him (see Pentecost, Acts 2).
The Covenant Lawsuit - Chapter 4 begins a “covenant lawsuit” against Israel: Hosea 4:1 “Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites! For the LORD has a covenant lawsuit [Hebrew, RIB] against the people of Israel.” The chief objection is that: 4:1 “There is no faithfulness or kindness or knowledge of God in the land.” This same point is reiterated in 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.”
The Covenant Stipulations - The result of the rejection of the Word or Law of God and its knowledge (theological knowledge of God’s character and purposes) is the false worship which culminates in wayward lives of Israelites: 4:2 “There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing, and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed. This has direct consequences in the Land itself: 4:3 “Therefore the land mourns, And everyone who lives in it languishes Along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky; And also the fish of the sea disappear.”
Exhortations: We should not miss the personal point that Gomer was an undeserving beloved and yet even after a profligate, covenant-breaking life, she comes to realize the end of herself and her Husband has mercy; as in 2:7: “I was better off then than I am now.” In this context we see the love of God in the language of courtship: 2:14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Bring her into the wilderness, And speak kindly to her.” This is true of the People of God corporately, but also true of each sinner saved by grace. Are you such a sinner? Or do you lack the knowledge of God’s gracious redemption? The lack of the knowledge of God led to Israel Baal worship and rank idolatry including immorality. That had devastating consequences for the Land and generations to come.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more