“My people are being destroyed because they do not know me (for lack of knowledge-NASB). It is all your fault, you priests, for you yourselves refuse to know me. Now I refuse to recognize you as my priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God, I will forget to bless your children.” (Hosea 4:6) There are several points to unpack in this verse. 1) The kind of knowledge under consideration is both a knowledge of God Himself and His Law. 2) As we said in the last article, God places the responsibility on the priest, the leader. 3) God’s consequences are twofold, to not recognize the priest and not to bless their children.
Could we stop trying to separate God from His word? The kind of knowledge here is intimate knowledge. It is not merely some mental ascent that God exists. “Do you still think it is enough just to believe that there is one God? Well, even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.!” (James 2:19) Superficiality is destroying God’s people. This type of lukewarmness is making God sick. (Revelation 3:15-16) One of the primary and most direct ways to know or become emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually intimate with someone is through conversation. God reveals Himself to us. We reveal ourselves to Him.
The process of gaining knowledge and developing intimacy within the wisdom of God is through a teaching ministry. Parents teach children. Teachers teach students. Ministers teach congregants. Evangelists teach the seekers. “But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is what the Scripture means when they say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15) The priest was the broken link in the chain of faith.
There are two consequences listed here for failure to do what is necessary for people to know God. The first is for God to deny knowing the messenger who failed to tell people about God and His word. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23, NASB) (See Psalm 6:8) Jesus said that if we deny Him before men, He will deny us before the Father. (Matt.10:32-33) Intimate knowledge is a two-way street. My knowing God and Him knowing Me is a package deal. You cannot have one without the other. The second consequence is that when we fail to get to know God on this deeply intimate level our children have a much less opportunity to know Him too. Superficial faith begets superficial faith. If your faith doesn’t mean much to you, why should it mean much to your children? Like Timothy, it needs to dwell in grandma and mom so that it can indwell the child. Too bad this faith did not dwell in daddy too. (2 Timothy 1:5)
One last thing! All of this pertains to the destruction of the nation. If knowledge of God is not happening on a retail level, it cannot be happening on a wholesale level. When knowledge of God breaks down within families and churches the community and the nation will be destroyed. If we want to pull the nation back from the brink of destruction, do not begin in the White House, begin in your house and your neighbor’s house and in the church house.