A story was once told of a couple who had won a free trip on a cruise ship. They never appeared with the others for the magnificent meals of steak and lobster. Instead, they ate every meal in their room, rationing out cheese and crackers they had brought with them. Someone asked them why they had not gone to the sumptuous feasts that were prepared for them daily. The man and his wife were utterly shocked to learn that the meals had been included in the price of the cruise!
How many Christians are living on spiritual "cheese and crackers" when they could be enjoying "steak and ice cream"? They simply lack the knowledge of what belongs to them in Christ. God, however, delights to see His children gain knowledge of their inheritance and then walk in that light. John said, "How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living in the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father" (2 John 1:4).
The other side, unfortunately, is represented by those who reject knowledge, as described in Hosea 4:6. They have been taught the truth and have rejected it in unbelief. Their lack of knowledge of God and His ways destroys them.
Come on down to the galley. The banquet table is spread for you!
4 Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites,
“There is no faithfulness,
they break all bounds,
3 Because of this the land dries up,
the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky
4 “But let no one bring a charge,
let no one accuse another,
for your people are like those
and the prophets stumble with you.
So I will destroy your mother
“Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also reject you as my priests;
I also will ignore your children.
7 The more priests there were,
the more they sinned against me;
8 They feed on the sins of my people
9 And it will be: Like people, like priests.
I will punish both of them for their ways
they will engage in prostitution
take away their understanding.
12 My people consult a wooden idol,
and a diviner’s rod speaks to them.
they are unfaithful
13 They sacrifice on the mountaintops
and burn offerings on the hills,
and your daughters-in-law to adultery.
14 “I will not punish your daughters
when they turn to prostitution,
nor your daughters-in-law
when they commit adultery,
because the men themselves consort with harlots
15 “Though you, Israel, commit adultery,
do not let Judah become guilty.
And do not swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives!’
16 The Israelites are stubborn,
like a stubborn heifer.
How then can the Lord pasture them
17 Ephraim is joined to idols;
leave him alone!
18 Even when their drinks are gone,
they continue their prostitution;
their rulers dearly love shameful ways.
5 “Hear this, you priests!
Pay attention, you Israelites!
Listen, royal house!
2 The rebels are knee-deep in slaughter.
I will discipline all of them.
3 I know all about Ephraim;
Israel is not hidden
Ephraim, you have now turned to prostitution;
4 “Their deeds do not permit them
A spirit of prostitution
the Israelites, even Ephraim, stumble
Judah also stumbles with them.
6 When they go with their flocks and herds
to seek the Lord,
they will not find him;
they give birth to illegitimate
When they celebrate their New Moon feasts,
he will devour
the horn in Ramah.
lead on, Benjamin.
9 Ephraim will be laid waste
Among the tribes of Israel
10 Judah’s leaders are like those
who move boundary stones.
I will pour out my wrath
like a flood of water.
11 Ephraim is oppressed,
trampled in judgment,
13 “When Ephraim
and Judah his sores,
not able to heal your sores.
like a great lion to Judah.
I will tear them to pieces
15 Then I will return to my lair
until they have borne their guilt
4 Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel!
The Lord has brought charges against you, saying:
“There is no faithfulness, no kindness,
no knowledge of God in your land.
2 You make vows and break them;
you kill and steal and commit adultery.
There is violence everywhere—
one murder after another.
3 That is why your land is in mourning,
and everyone is wasting away.
Even the wild animals, the birds of the sky,
and the fish of the sea are disappearing.
4 “Don’t point your finger at someone else
and try to pass the blame!
My complaint, you priests,
is with you.
5 So you will stumble in broad daylight,
and your false prophets will fall with you in the night.
And I will destroy Israel, your mother.
6 My people are being destroyed
because they don’t know me.
Since you priests refuse to know me,
I refuse to recognize you as my priests.
Since you have forgotten the laws of your God,
I will forget to bless your children.
7 The more priests there are,
the more they sin against me.
They have exchanged the glory of God
for the shame of idols.
8 “When the people bring their sin offerings, the priests get fed.
So the priests are glad when the people sin!
9 ‘And what the priests do, the people also do.’
So now I will punish both priests and people
for their wicked deeds.
10 They will eat and still be hungry.
They will play the prostitute and gain nothing from it,
for they have deserted the Lord
11 to worship other gods.
“Wine has robbed my people
of their understanding.
12 They ask a piece of wood for advice!
They think a stick can tell them the future!
Longing after idols
has made them foolish.
They have played the prostitute,
serving other gods and deserting their God.
13 They offer sacrifices to idols on the mountaintops.
They go up into the hills to burn incense
in the pleasant shade of oaks, poplars, and terebinth trees.
“That is why your daughters turn to prostitution,
and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.
14 But why should I punish them
for their prostitution and adultery?
For your men are doing the same thing,
sinning with whores and shrine prostitutes.
O foolish people! You refuse to understand,
so you will be destroyed.
15 “Though you, Israel, are a prostitute,
may Judah not be guilty of such things.
Do not join the false worship at Gilgal or Beth-aven,
and do not take oaths there in the Lord’s name.
16 Israel is stubborn,
like a stubborn heifer.
So should the Lord feed her
like a lamb in a lush pasture?
17 Leave Israel
because she is married to idolatry.
18 When the rulers of Israel finish their drinking,
off they go to find some prostitutes.
They love shame more than honor.
19 So a mighty wind will sweep them away.
Their sacrifices to idols will bring them shame.
5 “Hear this, you priests.
Pay attention, you leaders of Israel.
Listen, you members of the royal family.
Judgment has been handed down against you.
For you have led the people into a snare
by worshiping the idols at Mizpah and Tabor.
2 You have dug a deep pit to trap them at Acacia Grove.
But I will settle with you for what you have done.
3 I know what you are like, O Ephraim.
You cannot hide yourself from me, O Israel.
You have left me as a prostitute leaves her husband;
you are utterly defiled.
4 Your deeds won’t let you return to your God.
You are a prostitute through and through,
and you do not know the Lord.
5 “The arrogance of Israel testifies against her;
Israel and Ephraim will stumble under their load of guilt.
Judah, too, will fall with them.
6 When they come with their flocks and herds
to offer sacrifices to the Lord,
they will not find him,
because he has withdrawn from them.
7 They have betrayed the honor of the Lord,
bearing children that are not his.
Now their false religion will devour them
along with their wealth.
8 “Sound the alarm in Gibeah!
Blow the trumpet in Ramah!
Raise the battle cry in Beth-aven
Lead on into battle, O warriors of Benjamin!
On your day of punishment,
you will become a heap of rubble.
10 “The leaders of Judah have become like thieves.
So I will pour my anger on them like a waterfall.
11 The people of Israel will be crushed and broken by my judgment
because they are determined to worship idols.
12 I will destroy Israel as a moth consumes wool.
I will make Judah as weak as rotten wood.
13 “When Israel and Judah saw how sick they were,
Israel turned to Assyria—
to the great king there—
but he could neither help nor cure them.
14 I will be like a lion to Israel,
like a strong young lion to Judah.
I will tear them to pieces!
I will carry them off,
and no one will be left to rescue them.
15 Then I will return to my place
until they admit their guilt and turn to me.
For as soon as trouble comes,
they will earnestly search for me.”
4 Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.
2 By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.
3 Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.
4 Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest.
5 Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother.
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
7 As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.
8 They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.
9 And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings.
10 For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the Lord.
11 Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.
12 My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.
13 They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery.
14 I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall.
15 Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Bethaven, nor swear, The Lord liveth.
16 For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the Lord will feed them as a lamb in a large place.
17 Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.
18 Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rulers with shame do love, Give ye.
19 The wind hath bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.
5 Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel; and give ye ear, O house of the king; for judgment is toward you, because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.
2 And the revolters are profound to make slaughter, though I have been a rebuker of them all.
3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled.
4 They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the Lord.
5 And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity: Judah also shall fall with them.
6 They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them.
7 They have dealt treacherously against the Lord: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions.
8 Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Bethaven, after thee, O Benjamin.
9 Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be.
10 The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water.
11 Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment.
12 Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness.
13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.
14 For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.
15 I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.
To the lady chosen by God
3 Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ,
4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth,
7 I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ
13 The children of your sister, who is chosen by God,
1 This letter is from John, the elder.
I am writing to the chosen lady and to her children,
3 Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ—the Son of the Father—will continue to be with us who live in truth and love.
4 How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded.
5 I am writing to remind you, dear friends,
7 I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came
10 If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement.11 Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.
12 I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to do it with paper and ink. For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete.
13 Greetings from the children of your sister,
1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;
2 For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.
3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.
5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.
13 The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
both now and forevermore.
over the land allotted to the righteous,
for then the righteous might use
their hands to do evil.
4 Lord, do good
to those who are upright in heart.
the Lord will banish
1 Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion;
they will not be defeated but will endure forever.
2 Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people, both now and forever.
3 The wicked will not rule the land of the godly,
for then the godly might be tempted to do wrong.
4 O Lord, do good to those who are good,
whose hearts are in tune with you.
5 But banish those who turn to crooked ways, O Lord.
Take them away with those who do evil.
May Israel have peace!
125 They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.
2 As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.
3 For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.
4 Do good, O Lord, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.
5 As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel.
9 If a wise person goes to court with a fool,
the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.
9 If a wise person takes a fool to court,
there will be ranting and ridicule but no satisfaction.
10 The bloodthirsty hate blameless people,
but the upright seek to help them.
11 Fools vent their anger,
but the wise quietly hold it back.
9 If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.
10 The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.
11 A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.