I was 20 years old before I came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. But, I was bewildered by religion. I went to church and faithfully completed courses offered by the church that made me aware of who I was as a Christian, but the problem was I was becoming religious but did not know God.
That was a problem throughout the Old Testament when the Prophets addressed leaders and would tell them, “You don’t know God, yet you tell people about Him”. Not much has changed today. We have leaders who spend a great deal of time creating sermons, writing books, and pastoring churches … without the knowledge of the Lord. How do I know that? The Prophet Hosea tells us of a situation in the history of Israel that mirrors our day:
Hosea 4 1Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel! The Lord has brought charges against you, saying: “There is no faithfulness, no kindness, no knowledge of God in your land. 2You make vows and break them; you kill and steal and commit adultery. There is violence everywhere—one murder after another.”
The charge God is bringing against His people was simple … the following attributes were absent throughout the land:
• Knowledge of God
The Prophet Hosea was saying that God was not a part of these people’s lives and was in their culture by name only. No faithfulness means two things:
1. Not reliable
2. No faith component to their lives
Stop and think about that for a moment. If God is only mentioned in passing and the lives of the people are not impacted by His Words, commandments, and principles, then the God of the Bible is not in the land. Israel was notorious for creating their own gods, making the God of their ancestors null and void.
The absence of kindness in the land was the next citation God levied against His people. The Apostle Paul tells us that kindness leads us to repentance and a life that is devoted to God:
Romans 2:4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
The kindness of God is to draw you to Himself with a message of forgiveness and healing. When God is not discussed, promoted, taught, or exposed to the people that kindness is lost on the people. When the Prophet Hosea said there was no kindness in the land, he meant just that … God's mercy and forgiveness were never mentioned.
God said there is no knowledge of God in the land. No one was paying attention to what God said, what He expected from a people who claimed to worship Him. As a result of having none of these mentioned, there was a devasting result.
Let’s continue with what the Prophet Hosea tells us God says to Israel:
Hosea 4 3That is why your land is in mourning, and everyone is wasting away. Even the wild animals, the birds of the sky, and the fish of the sea are disappearing. 4Don’t point your finger at someone else and try to pass the blame! My complaint, you priests, is with you. 5So you will stumble in broad daylight, and your false prophets will fall with you in the night. And I will destroy Israel, your mother. 6My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me. Since you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God, I will forget to bless your children.
The land, the animals, and everything in that society were in mourning because God was missing among them. The Prophet didn’t blame the people as much as the leaders who refused to acknowledge God and take Him seriously. These leaders consistently lived in sin and their sins were well known among the people. There was little expectation demonstrated by the leaders by how they were living their own lives. There was no example of purity or dedication and no separation from sin. What is the end result of all this? God says, “My people are destroyed because they do not know Me.”
Any society that rejects God will live apart from Him, and that means that society will be destroyed. I believe that could mean their sinful ways will become their judge, and because of sin, it will get so bad that it will create its own vortex of destruction. History has shown us many civilizations where this was the case.
The Prophet’s message is relevant to our generation today. The Prophet Hosea outlines for us the same message he delivered millennia ago to Israel. “My people are destroyed because they do not know Me.” In the world today, the greatest problem we face is not global warming, racial tension, riots, socialism, or any other ‘ism’ found in our day … the greatest detriment in our day is the lack of knowledge of God. As the Apostle Paul tells us, God will turn us over to the sin in our lives, and that sin will become our judge. We will suffer at the hands of our own stubbornness in rejecting God. It is clear and simple.
You cannot live together in society without a rallying point of unity that makes us into one people. God’s Word teaches us how to do that. Investigate this and you will find that the “Knowledge of God” will bring clarity to your life.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler