4 “But let no one bring a charge,
let no one accuse another,
for your people are like those
who bring charges against a priest.
5 You stumble day and night,
and the prophets stumble with you.
So I will destroy your mother—
6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.
“Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also reject you as my priests;
because you have ignored the law of your God,
I also will ignore your children.
(Hosea 4:4-6 NIV)
As we began our walk through the second part of the book of Hosea beginning in chapter 4, we saw God’s complaint against all of Israel in verses 1-3.
In the remainder of chapter 4 (vv. 4-19), the Lord’s contention is against the priests, holding them accountable for bad leadership of the people.
In verses 4-6, the priests did not teach and instruct the people to follow the Lord. The priests had forsaken their God-ordained responsibility, and God was holding them accountable.
Leadership is both a privilege and a responsibility. It is an honor to lead others spiritually, to both teach what God’s Word says and to demonstrate what it looks like to follow Christ. It is also a challenge to lead well, as spiritual leaders are responsible for not only their own thoughts, words, and actions, but also those of the very ones they lead when they mislead their followers.
This misleading was not a misunderstanding or innocent mistake. In verse 6, the Lord says that the priests ignored God’s Law and rejected God’s knowledge. And as leaders making these fateful choices, they became responsible for the actions of the very ones they were leading.
Consequently, the Lord rejected the priests as His spokespeople, as His messengers to His people, and held them accountable for their words and actions.
So what does bad leadership in an ancient culture have to do with us?
And so what, if we don’t hold a title of leadership in our church, much less at work or anywhere else?
While we may not carry the title of “leader”, remember that as a follower of Christ, others look to us as an example.
Listen to the Apostle Peter’s words to the people of his time, and to us:
15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
(1 Peter 3:15-16 NIV)
May we remember our God-ordained role of ambassadors for the Lord in our thoughts, words, and actions. In so being and doing, we will lead others well.
To God be the glory.