Leaders Under God

MEMORY VERSE: “They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” —Hosea 8:7

HOSEA 4:1-6

THE Prophet Hosea lived in the northern kingdom of Israel, and the burden of his message is directed against that idolatrous people. The religious headquarters of the northern kingdom was set up at Bethel, and from the beginning the service and worship of Baal was largely practiced rather than the service of Jehovah.

However, God continued to send his prophets to warn them against the evil consequences of the course they were pursuing; and while the people were largely worshipers of Baal, doubtless there was a minority who continued to worship the true God, even though the only leadership they had was the prophets who were occasionally sent to them. Most of these prophets were from the southern kingdom, although Hosea was an exception.

In his message Hosea announced that the Lord had a controversy with the people “because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.” These qualities were almost wholly lacking in Baalism, and the prophets and priests of Baal were not interested in keeping them before the people. Only the leaders commissioned by Jehovah were qualified to conduct such a ministry, and Hosea was faithful along this line, stressing the mercy and love of God that eventually would be manifested in providing redemption and recovery from death. He wrote for God, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.”—Hos. 13:14

Through Hosea the Lord said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hos. 4:6) The people of the northern kingdom lacked a knowledge of God because their teachers and religious leaders were worshipers of Baal, and the religion of Baal was corrupt through and through. Leaders under God, if they are faithful, have a great influence over the people of God. But this does not release the non-teachers from responsibility in living up to their commitments to God. The Lord said to Israel, “Thou hast rejected knowledge.” This suggests that the people as well as their leaders were held responsible for their lack of knowledge of the true God.

Because they rejected knowledge the Lord said to them, “I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing that thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” Shortly after Israel entered into covenant relationship with the Lord, based upon the Law given at Sinai, the Lord said to them, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.”—Exod. 19:5,6

Now, in Hosea’s day, the Lord was saying to the unfaithful Israelites of the ten-tribe kingdom that he was rejecting them from being a kingdom of priests because they had forgotten his law. And to make this even more final the Lord added that he would also reject their children. In due course the ten-tribe kingdom was destroyed and the people taken into captivity to Assyria, from which there was never any official release. These have been known throughout the centuries as the “ten lost tribes of Israel.”

HOSEA 7:7-10

Not one of the kings of Israel displayed any repentance for disobedience to the Lord. “The pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the Lord their God, nor seek him for all this.” No wonder the Lord cut them off from the special privileges which he had promised if they would obey his voice and walk faithfully according to his law.

Our memory verse expresses the principle which is set forth throughout the Scriptures; namely, that, “whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.” (Gal. 6:7) Here it is dramatized by the illustration of the “wind” and the “whirlwind.” And how true this was in the experience of that unhappy people!


Who, for the most part, did the people of Israel’s northern kingdom worship?

Why did this people lack a true knowledge of God?

What special promise had God made to the Israelites if they were faithful to him?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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