I’m reading Hosea. And the thing that struck me the most in this book are parts of two verses:
“…my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6
“…a people without understanding will come to ruin.” Hosea 4:14
Though people often speak of having “blind faith”, I believe God prefers us to know and understand Him, and make decisions in our lives based on what we know and understand about Him. That doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes. It does mean that we are open to learning from Him.
The tools we are given are the Bible, the ability to pray, and companions. As well, we are given priests or pastors who are gifted in communicating the word of God to us. The Bible, written in many different literary forms conveys our history, present circumstance and future state to us. We learn about our creation and our creator – God, our separation from God, how God reconciled us to Himself again through his son – Jesus, and His promises for our future. This biography, if you will, encompasses the biographies of many men and women, from all different classes and stages of life, who’s stories can inspire us and lead us if we let them. The Bible tells of decisions made and their consequences – some good, some bad – that can help us make decisions today.
Prayer is really conversation with God. He wants to hear everything about us. Our happiness, thankfulness, hurts, struggles, desires, needs. I believe the more we talk to God, the more ability we have to make decisions with some sense of clarity and purpose. When we make those decisions or choices, there are always consequences – through these, knowledge is gained.
Companions on our journey provide encouragement, strengthening, accountability, testing, etc. I believe when people come together to study the bible, truths are brought out. No one person can possibly have all the insight and/or all the experiences required for understanding all scripture.
Priests and pastors that communicate God’s word to us in understandable, applicable ways are invaluable. They are studied and trained in ministering to us, not just in words, but in deed. They don’t have specific solutions for your problems, but they can help you find the path to your solution and will travel the path with you through prayer and encouragement.
All of these things when functioning correctly help us gain the knowledge and understanding of God that helps us navigate life. Of course, during this time of Hosea, God was lamenting the lack of knowledge and understanding among His people. His people were entirely corrupted and did not acknowledge Him at all. Lying, stealing, cheating, adultery, murder abounded. There was no concern for God at all when people were making decisions and taking actions. And when things went wrong, people were not crying out to God, but were simply miserably crying.
And yet, God offers forgiveness to hearts that repent: “Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: ‘Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” Hosea 14:2. Is it not clear what God desires from His people? We must know Him, acknowledge Him and accept Him as our God. Our hearts are expressed through words, so let’s offer our words to Him.
I believe that God honours a desire for knowledge and understanding, and that we currently have the means to acquire that knowledge and understanding as discused above. If you don’t have a Bible, get one. Most churches will help you get one if you cannot do so on your own. If you don’t pray, start. Just thank God for one good thing in your life today to get started. If you don’t have people to talk this over with, find some. Bible Study Fellowship is a great worldwide organization that has meetings in various places – www.bsfinternational.org. Find a church that teaches the Bible truthfully. You can tell by comparing what is said to what is written in the Bible.
“Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” Hosea 14:9