In Hosea 4:6, we read, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (HCSB).” It was not because they had no access to it, but (as the rest of the verse says) because they “rejected” it.
The statement has to do with a nation. But it is just as true of those purporting to be “God’s people” as a congregation, as a household or as individuals.
Lack of Knowledge—and, in particular, the willful lack thereof, is a serious matter. Christianity is not fundamentally an emotional religion although emotion plays a secondary and derivative part in it. It is a religion propagated by teaching. It is a religion of truth. It is a religion of propositions. It is a religion that is logical. It is a religion of a Book. It is, primarily, a religion in which everything depends upon a message—the Gospel. Apart from knowledge of and belief in the vicarious death and bodily resurrection of Jesus, there is no Christianity—regardless of what may be taught in its name.
In Hosea, not only the people in general, but the prophet, the priest and the individual are singled out. God says that since they rejected Him, He will reject them.
That is a tragic fact. But how true it is of so many in this land where the message of salvation is widely spread by word of mouth, TV and radio, the printed page. There is no excuse for not knowing it; there is less excuse for rejecting it once one does know.
Knowledge has to do not merely with the communicating of facts. In the passage, as elsewhere in Scripture, it refers to facts believed, and acted upon—what some have called “experimental knowledge.” It refers to acceptance, ready compliance and dependence upon the message that is preached.
Counselor, your counselee will not be helped unless he first knows the truth—then accepts is as true and that upon which he depends for his life and eternity. Don’t assume more than you should. Be certain that he understands and trusts basic Christian knowledge of the truth.