Knowledge of God
Sunday, October 5, 2014
1 Listen to the word of the Lord, O sons of Israel,
For the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land,
Because there is no faithfulness or kindness
Or knowledge of God in the land.
2 There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing, and adultery.
They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed.
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.
4 Yet let no one find fault, and let none offer reproof;
For your people are like those who contend with the priest.
5 So you will stumble by day,
And the prophet also will stumble with you by night;
And I will destroy your mother.
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.
7 The more they multiplied, the more they sinned against Me;
I will change their glory into shame.
8 They feed on the sin of My people,
And direct their desire toward their iniquity.
9 And it will be, like people, like priest;
So I will punish them for their ways,
And repay them for their deeds.
10 And they will eat, but not have enough;
They will play the harlot, but not increase,
Because they have stopped giving heed to the Lord.
11 Harlotry, wine, and new wine take away the understanding.
12 My people consult their wooden idol, and their diviner's wand informs them;
For a spirit of harlotry has led them astray,
And they have played the harlot, departing from their God.
13 They offer sacrifices on the tops of the mountains
And burn incense on the hills,
Under oak, poplar, and terebinth,
Because their shade is pleasant.
Therefore your daughters play the harlot,
And your brides commit adultery.
14 I will not punish your daughters when they play the harlot
Or your brides when they commit adultery,
For the men themselves go apart with harlots
And offer sacrifices with temple prostitutes;
So the people without understanding are ruined. NASB
Part of the Great Commission is that we are to “teach them to obey.”
We are the church of God, those who have been called out of the world, to be different from the world. We are not different because we go to church, although we do. We are not different because we have accepted the teachings of certain people, although that may be true. We are not different because we don't participate in certain vices. I hope that is true as well.
We are different because we are learning to obey Jesus. There is a phrase in that first verse of Hosea 4 that says “Knowledge of God”. We are different from others because we have knowledge of God. We know God. He leads us. He teaches us. He admonishes us when we get off track and go our own way.
It is not enough to know about God. We must be nurturing our relationship with God. That means we give up doing what we want to do and begin following Him and doing what He calls us to do. He will never give up His throne. He will always insist on being Lord of our lives.
Yes, He loves us and is always ready to forgive when we confess our sin, when we acknowledge that we have not followed Him as we should have. Forgiveness is paid for and is there for us, but as we live out our relationship with Him, He will always insist on being Lord.
Verse 10 says “Because they have stopped giving heed to the Lord”. They stopped listening, paying attention to, and obeying the Lord. Giving heed is more than just listening it is listening and obeying. We are to teach people to obey, to give heed to, the Lord.
His law was given to help us listen to Him. It is the relationship with Him that makes us different from the rest of the world. If we forget this, we fall back into the the ways of the world and begin doing our own thing.
If you take this seriously, your life will be radically different from what it was before. Your love for God will be the primary focus of your life. Your relationship with Him will take precedence over everything else. You will become the loving husband God wants you to be. You will become the loving wife God wants you to be. You will become the caring parent that loves your children enough to insist that they follow you as you follow the Lord.
Because they stopped giving heed to the Lord. That is why the Northern Kingdom of Israel eventually was overrun by the Assyrians after Hosea's day of ministry.
That is why the Lord gave Canaan to the Israelites. The Canaanites had failed to listen to God and obey Him. God loves us. He chastises us for our good as well as for His, not because He does not love us, but because He does love us.
Nurturing our relationship with God is more important than just following the rules. We are not just teaching the rules to our children, we are to teach them to obey. We are to teach them to nurture their relationship with God. Do you see the difference?
The law was given to bring us to the place that we recognize our need of the Presence of God in our lives. We need to know the law, not so we can obey the rules on our own, but so that we can come to recognize the voice of God when He speaks to our hearts.
Hosea 4:14 says “the people without understanding are ruined.”
When the Psalmist said, “Be still and know that I am God.” This is the relationship he was talking about. This personal relationship with God. Stop struggling to please God. Accept His love for you. Listen, heed, obey because He loves you, not because you are trying to earn His love!
. We do not need to earn His love, He gives it freely. He desires to have a close relationship with you. Let Him in. He stands at the door and knocks. If anyone hears His voice and opens the door, He will come in.
It starts with admitting you are not good enough on your own. We have all fallen short of what God expects of us. We have all gone our own way. He calls us back to what we were created for. We were made to live in relationship with Him. He is ready to forgive you for trying to live without Him.
Trust His love for you. If you believe He loves you, obedience will come naturally. He IS Lord. That does not and never will change.
I do not know what you are going through right now. You may be sitting in church wondering why the life you are living does not match up with others you know that seem to be so happy and are enjoying their lives. Have you been going through the motions, doing what you think God wants you to do, and you have not really allowed Him to lead you each day? Move closer to Him today. He is waiting for you. His promise to never leave you nor forsake you is true. He loves you. Believe it. Trust Him. Seek Him today.
You may be going through a difficult relationship with someone else. God will help you sort out all your relationships if you will Trust Him.
You may be suffering from an illness or an addiction. God wants to be with you in whatever you face. Stop struggling to know His will, and allow Him to be real to you. He is our peace. He is our comfort. He is our hope. Jesus is the subject as those in the national office are telling us now.
We are here to glorify God by accepting His love and grace and living in His Presence. He sent His Son to die for us. He sent His Spirit to be with us, to live within us. Trust Him. Love Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.
Knowledge about God is not enough. We must know God.
That is the message, the good news, that we are to take to the world. We can only do that when we have a personal experience of that relationship ourselves.
The only hope our children and grandchildren have, is that we tell them and show them how to live in a personal relationship with the Almighty God.
Hosea 4:6 says “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.”
That was true for the nation of Northern Israel in Hosea's day. It is true in our day. When we reject the knowledge of God's love and lordship, we doom those coming after us. God wants to use us to carry out His mission in the world of saving the lost.
The most important legacy we can leave to those coming after us, is a life lived in acceptance of the Love of God and Obedience to Him as He leads us each day.
God loves me. Say that with me. “God loves me!”
He is MY LORD. Say that with me. “He is MY Lord!”
If you are not sure you have this personal relationship with God, come and kneel and seek the help you need to be sure.