Friday, September 4, 2020
“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” (Hosea 4:6 KJV).
Despite living in this prosperous world, one possession is often scarce. What?
Recently, I heard a religious man remark concerning a devastating natural disaster: “I don’t know why bad things happen to good people, but if I make it to Heaven, I am going to ask about it.” This is a disturbing statement for two reasons. Firstly, even as a faithful church member of a “Christian” denomination, he lacks the very answers the Bible has already provided on that subject (Genesis chapter 3, for example!). Secondly—and this makes it most unsettling—he said “if” he would get to Heaven!
Never can we fault church members for being idle. They know how to go through the motions of praying, fasting, kneeling, hand-raising, clapping, singing, confessing, shouting, weeping, dancing, speaking in “tongues,” jumping, giving alms, lighting candles, water baptizing, and so on. Yet, most lack even a basic understanding of Scripture. This was the Jews, over 700 years before Christ. The LORD commented, “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). Dutifully offering animal sacrifices, they were unfamiliar with God’s words! Written around the same time was Isaiah 5:13: “Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.”
The Hebrew word rendered “knowledge” in today’s Scripture is “da`ath.” It was paired with the negative prefix “beliy” (“without”). The same idea is found in Deuteronomy 4:42—“unawares”—when someone killed his neighbor unintentionally. It is translated “ignorantly” in Deuteronomy 19:4 and “unwittingly” in Joshua 20:3. Just as this manslayer was oblivious to his victim neighbor’s presence, so we can be equally ignorant of Scripture. Unfortunately, that is sometimes deliberate: “Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?” (Job 21:14,15; cf. today’s Scripture). May spiritual ignorance—especially purposeful—not be true of us!