Welcome to our online Bible study. My goal here tonight is to give you the scriptures along with some points for you to consider. As always, please take some time to pray first and ask God to clear your hearts and minds from whatever you may have dealt with today so that you can focus on what we will talking about here. Also, get your Bible close by because you will need it.
Let's begin by going to Hosea 4:1. We will be reading through and discussing as we go along so make sure you keep your bible by you. Our primary scripture for tonight is Hosea 4:6 which says "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children." What a powerful verse that truly is! It doesn't have to be doom and gloom so let's study so we can ensure such a thing is never said about us.
Verse 1 says "Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land." Clearly, this did not simply happen. God did not wake up one day and just decide to punish the people of Israel. There is a prolonged pattern of falling away that has caused God to speak in that manner. That brings about a point here. God is long-suffering. That means He is patient in giving us the time to really turn things around. The reality is that if a person just begins the process of doing so they will begin to see God's grace and mercy immediately. He doesn't desire for us to be lost but that we all might be saved.
The people had gotten to a point where the things that mattered to God no longer mattered to them. There was no truth, mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. That is not a place where we should be. Unfortunately, there are many who are in that very place. Church attendance alone doesn't save you. Volunteering doesn't keep you. There is a life that each of us must live before God. I'm not talking about the version when others are around. I'm talking about making God the center of your life. Everyone needs to strive to get to a point where the hidden things are brought before God in prayer and deliverance is sought that we might change from sin to righteousness. The Lord had a major problem with what His people had become is the simple point here.
Verse 2 goes on to say "By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood." It's one thing to read verse 1 and to ignore the specific things God has a problem with. However, we cannot do the same in verse 2. This verse clearly spells out what areas God is not pleased with. Swearing, lying, killing, stealing, and committing adultery. Those are very plain and obvious. You may say you don't swear but if you type the words or use modern abbreviations for them in conversation then you are guilty of swearing. The only person who doesn't understand that typing words or phrases is just as bad as saying them is the person who is trying to find a way around God instead of a way to God. Give that some thought because it doesn't have to be that way if we just walk upright before God at all times.
The verse goes on to talk about killing. We only think of killing in terms of a physical sense. However, all of us need to be mindful that our words are not killing others. I'm talking about when you tell someone the truth and they don't want to hear it. I'm talking about when you are tearing others down who are seeking the opportunity to get up. We already know that lying is one the seven things that God hates. Stealing goes beyond someone stealing from a store, person, or place. One can steal from God as well. It is amazing to think that the bible covers such an act by simply stating the amount of restitution that shall made for the sin to be forgiven.
Committing adultery is a twofold statement. Those that are married obviously cannot allow themselves to be involved with others they are not married to. That's plain and simple. It's also some major food for thought for those who aspire to one day be married. Learn now to be faithful to God and it will help you be faithful to the person you may one day be one with. Adultery is also concerning God though. When we put things and people before God that is spiritual adultery. The scary thing is that's far worse than marital adultery. To abandon God is dangerous because it affects everything about you. There are far more things at stake than just your household. Your eternal salvation is at stake when spiritual adultery is taking place.
These verses are powerful because they show us the seriousness in which God views such acts. We live in a world today where the fear of God is either missing or not on the level it should be. This leads us to the last part of verse 2 which says they break out and blood touches blood. Understand the meaning of that because it is absolutely powerful. That part means that once they start one thing it leads to another. In other words, they couldn't stop themselves any longer. Once they opened the door for sin it became so strong until they could no longer control it. They did one bad thing after another. There are two ways we will read that. Those that are honest will remember their time being there and pray that God never allows them to fall like that again. Those who are stuck in sins as we speak will either cry out to God or read right over that. We have a choice but God knows we better choose right while we can.
Now verse 3 says that as a result of all of that the whole land mourns. Even the animals are saddened by the response of the people towards God. They have a reason to be saddened. The sins of the people are affecting them also. Now give this some serious thought in your own life. Who is attached to you and is at risk because you don't want to do right? Who else is getting ready to pay the price for "your" sin? How many others suffer when you don't honor and obey God? Did you really think your sins only had an effect on you alone?
God goes on to tell the people in verse 4 not to even strive with one another. There is no sense in blaming someone else for what you are a partaker in also. It's like being at a cookout and people are there drinking and cussing with no regard. You're there complaining about what they're doing when all you have to do is leave. No one said you had to stay in a place when sin is steadily abounding with no regard. As long as you stay there you are just as much to blame as they are because you have a choice but choose not to use it. God was telling them the same thing. There's no point in pointing fingers.
While verse 5 surely doesn't feel good it is necessary that we read it. We need to be reminded of the outcome of sin every now and then and this is a good example. We end up falling in that day along with the false prophets and brace yourself for this one; our mother. We don't get to determine when that day is. When don't get to choose when or where. One day we will suddenly fall because of willful sin is the simple translation here. Again, your sins do not simply hurt you. They hurt many others who may depend on you. May we never despise another word that is designed to get us out of our sin and to keep us from it. The prophets were judged because they would not say anything to correct the people.
Now we get to verse 6 which is our primary focus as we move to closing here. God says my people here. He is not talking to those in the world who do not know any better. He is literally talking to those who are His and should know better. This has been the group of people this entire chapter is about so far. Let's take a good look at the word destroy according to Webster's dictionary. The first definition says "to ruin the structure, organic existence, or condition of. Also: to ruin as if by tearing to shreds. The second definition says to put out of existence." Those are strong words and they should make all us sit up a bit and really take note what God is saying here. Let me go a little further for a moment.
When God says His people are destroyed He is saying they are ruined in their core or structure, torn to shreds, and put out of existence. Remember, those that bear no fruit are cast away because they are deemed useless. Now this are tough questions but everyone must ask these questions on their own behalf. Are you still useful to God? Can He use you to draw others? Do you only see your own life to the point you don't even think about who else is watching and how you are killing them spiritually? Who is going to heaven or hell because you're around them and in their life? Yes, those are tough questions but if you love those around you then you will take great heed to those questions. They could be a matter of life and death for you and those you say you love.
Notice something else in verse 6. The problem was not that they were never presented with the knowledge. The problem was they rejected it. They didn't want to hear it. They didn't think it was that serious and important. How many even today hear a word and say it doesn't take all of that while others take heed and live by it? Here's another question to ask. Can you even receive correction when God is using someone else to give it to you? The people that Israel rejected were the prophets of God. God went on to say that He would reject them from even being priests to Him. All of this because they had forgotten the law of God. Brace yourself for the last tough part here. God said He would even forget their children. Make you get that. God said it.
Now here's our conclusion. Read all the way through verse 19 which is the end of the chapter. Give all that some serious thought because that can be any of us at any time. If we're going to be truthful right now there are some of you reading this and you know this is you. The question is does it have to be that way? Does a person have to stay lost? The good news in closing in no. It does not have to be that way at all. We are blessed to live a time of grace. The thing about grace though is that we cannot stay in sin if grace is going to abound. We cannot live two lives at the same time. We cannot claim blessings while living in a curse. We have to make a choice and stick with that choice.
Nobody has to stay lost. Jesus already paid the price for us to be saved and delivered. He's already made a way of escape for our sins and in the event we still fall He's even made a way out. It can't get no easier than that. Even if one does fall they can be delivered if they truly repent. There's no sense in being shocked here. All of us have needed God to deliver us from something we knew better in and then to restore us back to a relationship with Himself. That's grace. It's not about us or how we feel. This life we live for Christ is not about how we think or feel. Do you really think God is concerned about what parts of His word we don't like to the point He will change what He said? The answer is no. God has already said in Malachi that He changes not.
God doesn't conform to us. We have to conform to God. The more I live the more I realize we make a choice to be saved or lost. There are simply too many chances God gives us to choose right. We will never have an excuse if we end up in hell because we will always be able to say God did everything He could for us not to get there. Now here's the point you will need to keep in mind for next week's discussion. The people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. It's not that the knowledge wasn't there. They just lacked it. I literally cannot give you all the clues here today of course but just get your minds to thinking along the lines of how diligent are you in seeking after the knowledge of God.
Listen it's been awesome to do this for sure. We are living in a time when we must truly appreciate God for the many ways to still get the word and be blessed by it. Let us close with this simple prayer. Father in the name of Jesus we thank You for this word of deliverance. Search us thoroughly to include the areas we may not even be aware of. Open up our spiritual eyes to see what you see and increase our discernment so that we may understand those things you show us. Give us wisdom and understanding into your truths that we may live and not die. Wash us from the obvious, purge us from the strongholds, and cover us that we may stay from the things you set us free from. We give you the glory, honor, and praise in the might name of Jesus. Amen!
God Bless You,
Bishop C. Lennon