Hosea 4:6 (ESV)

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;

because you have rejected knowledge,

I reject you from being a priest to me.

And since you have forgotten the law of your God,

I also will forget your children.

Hosea 4:14 (ESV)

I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore,

nor your brides when they commit adultery;

for the men themselves go aside with prostitutes

and sacrifice with cult prostitutes,

and a people without understanding shall come to ruin.

The sin in Hosea 4 is that of ignorance. People are perishing because of lack of knowledge and God holds those whose responsibility it is to teach the people, accountable. See verses 1, 6 (note especially the latter part of the verse where the priests are held guilty for the lack of knowledge of the people), 8f. In verses 12-13 God outlines the specific sins that the people are committing.

God’s attitude in this does not seem to me to be one of anger at the people themselves so much as it is against those who are responsible for teaching them and pastoring them and helping them do better. Verses 12 -13 has the tone of “look what the teachers of Israel have caused the people of Israel to do”.

This is particularly the case in verse 14 where God says He will not punish the women who practise prostitution. Rather, He will punish the men who purchase them. Women could not be prostitutes if men did not purchase them. Men are called by God to teach truth and demonstrate holiness so that their wives and children will not go awry. Hosea 4 is a fierce condemnation against those who have been given a responsibility by God to show people the God who is over them. He is addressing His words of judgement against the leaders of the temple – the priests, and the leaders of the home – the men.

What a necessary word for today. Ever since Adam tried to escape responsibility for his actions by focussing attention on his wife’s actions husbands have been doing this. The most natural thing in the world is for people to escape responsibility by blaming someone else. But believers have been rescued from doing what is natural when what is according to nature is sinful.

Too many Christians and churches have purchased the lie being sold the culture about leadership in the church and home. Men are being held accountable by God for what is taught and lived in the home while much of the contemporary Christian culture is saying that they should not be. How we need godly men and fathers and pastors who will lead as God directs, to the joy of those who are called to follow them, the glory of the One who calls them to it, and the salvation of a community that needs to see that God’s ways produce people changed for the better.