Being a spiritual leader of any kind is an immense responsibility that we dare not take lightly. The book of James warns us that people holding such positions incur a stricter judgment (James 3:1). Jesus told His disciples that causing a young, impressionable convert to stumble was an offense worthy of the greatest punishment possible (Matt. 18:6).
In today’s passage, Hosea delivers a similar pronouncement as God turns his accusatory gaze from the people to the priests. The priests had not taught the people well. The Israelites were “destroyed from lack of knowledge” (v. 6). It’s no wonder that they had divided their affection between God and Baal. The knowledge they were missing was both factual and relational. The priests had neither imparted an understanding about God nor led the people into communion with Him.
However, not only were these priests negligent in their teaching, they were also predatory in their practice. They encouraged the people’s sin, rather than rebuking it. They entered into the wickedness—enjoyed it even (v. 8). And as a result, both people and priests would be punished (v. 9).
The second part of this passage (vv. 10–14) demonstrates that right knowledge is imperative to right worship. Lacking a clear understanding of the one true God, His people pursued prostitution and idolatry and all sorts of perversions. “A people without understanding will come to ruin!” (v. 14). It isn’t difficult to connect the warnings of Hosea 4 to our own lives. Whether we are in official leadership position or not, we bear responsibility to train the next generation in the Word of the Lord. If the Church is not collectively leading our children into an intimate knowledge of God—both factual and relational—it’s no wonder their affections are divided.
>> Pray today for the spiritual leaders in your life. Encourage them in their teaching of the Word. And consider how you can better lead the next generation.
We pray that You will sustain our spiritual leaders in the heavy responsibility You have given them. Help them be diligent as they study Scripture and expound biblical truth to those under their authority.