Hosea 4:1–10 (NKJV)
4:1 Hear the word of the LORD,
You children of Israel,
For the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land:
“There is no truth or mercy
Or knowledge of God in the land.
2 By swearing and lying,
Killing and stealing and committing adultery,
They break all restraint,
With bloodshed upon bloodshed.
3 Therefore the land will mourn;
And everyone who dwells there will waste away
With the beasts of the field
And the birds of the air;
Even the fish of the sea will be taken away.
Judgment is coming. God calls out the children of Israel for ignoring the need for truth and mercy. They ignore God, swear, lie, kill, steal, and commit adultery. They have departed from the very core of their teaching: The Decalogue or the Ten Commandments. Therefore, mourning is coming, and destruction is the cause.
4 “Now let no man contend, or rebuke another;
For your people are like those who contend with the priest.
5 Therefore you shall stumble in the day;
The prophet also shall stumble with you in the night;
And I will destroy your mother.
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.
The Lord tells His people in no uncertain terms that they should not argue with His assessment of their condition. God is firm in His contention that they are without knowledge and have rejected His leadership. Therefore, He rejects their spiritual leadership of the nation.
7 “The more they increased,
The more they sinned against Me;
I will change their glory into shame.
8 They eat up the sin of My people;
They set their heart on their iniquity.
9 And it shall be: like people, like priest.
So I will punish them for their ways,
And reward them for their deeds.
10 For they shall eat, but not have enough;
They shall commit harlotry, but not increase;
Because they have ceased obeying the LORD.
Prosperity has not helped Israel. Instead, the more they have, the more they sin. Priests have followed the practices of the people, rather than being agents of change for good. God, in general, is indicting the priesthood as having adulterated itself as individuals to follow the sinful practices of the rank and file. When priests do not have a standard, the people will not have a standard. When priests follow the people, there is no Godly leadership. Responsibility, integrity, and holiness must be modeled by the priesthood so that the people are fully aware and cognizant of the standard. Priests (pastors, leaders, elders,etc.), rise up and show the way to Godly living!