Do You Gargle?

By Stephen P. Willis

The prophet Hosea bore a message against Israel, the northern portion of the Jewish state. They had fallen in to the sin of idolatry, which led them not only to forget their God, but also their fellow man. God based their troubles on a lack of knowledge.

God said that they had stopped giving heed to Him (v. 10), and because of that, “the people without understanding are ruined” (v. 14). I think that it is summarized well in verse six: “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.”

“Listen to the word of the Lord, 0 sons of Israel, For the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land, Because there is no faithfulness or kindness Or knowledge of God in the land” (Hos. 4:1).

This message is further taught in the summary sentence of the book of Proverbs: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction” (1:7). That one must seek after the knowledge of God is evident by what the one who is blessed by the Lord does: “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in his law he meditates day and night” (Ps. 1:2).

Most of us do not seek the knowledge of God as we should. Paul prayed that the Colossians might gain knowledge for the results that would come of it. These results are based on the fact that one has knowledge:

(1) The Christian will walk worthy before the Lord; (2) He will please the Lord in all respects; (3) He will bear fruit in every good work; (4) He will increase in knowledge (it takes knowledge to grow in knowledge); (5) The Christian will be strengthened in power; (6) He will give thanks to the Father (cf. Col. 1:9-12). Look over that list again and see how important knowledge is to the Christian.

As a “holy priesthood” (1 Pet. 1:5, 9), we should fulfill our ministry as Levi did: “For the lips of the priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 2:7). It is no wonder that Paul called the church the pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). It is also no wonder that Timothy was told to “Be diligent (or, Study, KJV) . . . .” In so doing he could “present himself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

A lack of knowledge caused the ruin of Israel. It will cause our ruin also. Do you study on a regular basis? Does your reading include the Bible and material that will prompt thinking on biblical themes? Are you prepared for your Bible classes? (Would you want your teacher to be as prepared as you?) Parents: do you train your children so that their habits include Bible study? Children: do you encourage your parents to train you to study? Do you make the most of your time (Eph. 5:16) so that “your progress may be evident to all” (cf. 1 Tim. 4:15)?

Some like to drink from the fountain of knowledge;

Others only gargle.

Do you gargle?

Truth Magazine XXII: 26, p. 427
June 29, 1978