BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday March 3, 2013
REBUKING DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR
(The Word of GOD condemns sinful attitudes and behavior)
In the opening verses of Hosea chapter four, which is the beginning of part two (chapters 4-14) of this timeless book, we start to see the establishment of the underlying themes that will manifest themselves in various ways throughout the remainder of this prophecy.
Israel had failed to maintain a “covenant relationship” with the GOD of her fathers, and had also failed to maintain an amicable relationship with their brethren within the chosen community of GOD. They were no longer showing any faithfulness or kindness to GOD, nor were they acknowledging HIM at all (v. 1). They also cursed each other, lied to each other, killed each other, and stole from each other. The land was filled with spiritual adultery and violence, and there was perpetually one murder after another being committed in Israel in those days (v.2).
In verses 1-2 we see GOD’s fundamental complaints against HIS beloved Israel being laid out in courtroom fashion. Those complaints are followed up by a statement of judgment in verse 3 that surely must come as a consequence of the nation’s sins against GOD. It is here that we see the preaching of the prophet Hosea come to life, as he is a man whose personal life pains, so reflect the pains of the GOD WHO sent him.
Basically three things have tended to characterize corrupt cultures of any age, throughout the history of this world. A society becomes corrupt when;
· They care little or nothing about being faithful to GOD, or to anyone else.
· There is a lack of concern towards having a commitment to GOD, or to anyone else.
· They possess no “true knowledge” of GOD, and are totally unfamiliar with HIS Word, or how to apply HIS Word to their lives, and, to the lives of others.
A society in which these attitudes prevail is ultimately consumed by “greed” and “self-worship”. It deteriorates to the point where there is only cursing, lying, murdering, stealing, homosexually, adultery, and other sexual sin. It is generally a society that has long been accustomed to “mixing the holy with the profane”, even in the church house. Mixing the holy with the profane is like taking a “steroid”, or “vitamin pill” to make it easier for us to sin with no conscience, or feeling of remorse what so ever.
The priests of the northern kingdom of Israel were never sanctioned by GOD, because they did not come from the family of Aaron, but rather, they were drawn from all manner of people. Just like most church leaders in today’s society, they too, were religious leaders who were not called, or sanctified by GOD, and so, it shouldn’t surprise us at all when they ignore GOD’s law, and adhere to the laws of satan, who is their real father ( Vs. 5-11a).
In fact, some Church leaders, then and now, actually enjoy the benefits of sin, because, realistically, they share in its profits, through tithes and offerings that may have been motivated by guilt, or by a need for tax write-offs, or for self-promotion, etc., and sometimes, even from money taken from bribes. Bribes taken in today’s churches might be, for example, those monies donated or paid for the purpose of influencing or steering voters in the church towards certain politicians, during election time (Vs. 8-9).
All monies given to the church for any reasons other than those “unselfish reasons” prescribed by scripture is not accepted by GOD, and therefore cannot be used to build up HIS kingdom. In fact, these monies are actually used by satan to promote his evil agenda in the Christian Church.
A GODly Church leader must stand strong and preach against sin, not invite sin in, by way of his, or her, own behavior and ignorance. They must mourn for those who pursue sin, and the amount of grief that they feel serves as a test, or measure of their own heart towards GOD.
Sadly, Church leaders, then and now have failed GOD on multiple levels, and here are three examples of how it is still being done;
· First of all, they have failed to educate themselves in the Word of GOD to a degree where they can actually effectively teach their followers correctly. And oftentimes, even the leaders themselves, haven’t been familiarized with GOD, or HIS Laws (v.6).
· Secondly, rather than condemning this nation’s apostasy (a falling away from GOD), particularly with homosexuality, many professed Christian church leaders actually encourage it, or, are involved in it. They actually profit from it, and thereby, they turn a national and international disgrace into a personal gain (v.8). Church leaders who endorse President Barak Obama, who endorses homosexual sin, for example, as a result are leading a whole generation of people in the Christian church, away from the GOD, they say they serve.
· And finally, even though they should know better, they have instead, through their own ignorance, greed, or evil intent, actually began to delight in practicing many GOD-forbidden acts themselves, in the church, and by doing so, they seduce those who follow them to do the same (Vs.11-13).
We, as true Church leaders, have been blessed with a tremendous privilege from GOD, however, obversely, we have also been given, the greatest of responsibilities. Therefore, our failure to recognize the responsibility that comes with the privilege becomes all the more dramatic in its manifestation before GOD. All those to whom leadership is granted, and such leadership is abused, are not only responsible for their own actions, but ultimately, they are responsible for fate of those who follow them.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander