Last time, we quoted that verse from Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of the knowledge…” But we didn’t finish the verse. Let’s do that now, and notice what Hosea said about the priesthood of his day – those that God had made the custodians of His knowledge.
“My people are destroyed for lack of (the) knowledge. Because thou hast rejected (the) knowledge, I also will 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” (Hosea 4.6).
Malachi said similar words in his day.
“For the priests lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth” (Malachi 2.7).
That was a reminder of what God had called His priesthood to back in the days of Moses:
“They shall teach Jacob Thy judgments, and Israel Thy law” (Deuteronomy 33.10).
This is what the priesthood was supposed to be all about – teaching the people the law of God in such a way as to cause them to know Him. Yet by the days of Hosea and Malachi, the priests had forgotten God’s law, with the result that the people were utterly cut off from Him.
But if God was grieved that His priesthood of old had forgotten His law of the old covenant… what can He be feeling today? If there has ever been a forgotten covenant, it is the New Covenant of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The New Covenant is not just a matter of forever setting before the people more sermons, more teachings, more Bible knowledge, more understanding of what the Bible says. The New Covenant is a ministration of the Spirit such that the Law of God is written upon the hearts and minds of His people… with what result?
“And they shall all know Me from the least of them to the greatest of them…” (Jeremiah 31.34).
God complained to Jeremiah:
“The priests say not, Where is the LORD? And they that handle the law knew Me not” (Jer. 2.8).
This is, to me, a very provoking and very challenging verse; I dwell on it often. You mean, they handled the law, they were very familiar with the law, yet did not know the God who gave the law? What about me, then? I know my Bible well – certainly not as some do by any stretch, but quite well. I am familiar with the word of God, and its teachings, and from one point of view (a low one) it could be said that I have a substantial knowledge: I am one of those of whom it could be said, “He handles the law.”
But then I read John’s testimony:
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of Life…” (1 Jn. 1.1).
And I am undone. How can I settle for any lesser Testimony? I must know this One… as John knew Him! I cannot settle for any lesser Testimony. And I need not settle for a lesser Testimony. For God has made provision for me to have the same Testimony. The Spirit of Truth has been sent from the Throne of God with a commission, and He cannot return till He has accomplished it — to make me familiar with the Word of Life Himself – and cause me to hear Him, to see Him, to gaze continually upon Him, to handle Him with my hands… and know Him!
That is the New Covenant!
How deeply I want to be part of this kind of New Covenant ministry. And how deeply this kind of ministry is needed in this hour! The need is so great. And so whatever we feel we may have attained to thus far in our Christian walk, let us all, in this late hour, open our hearts to a deeper ministration of the Spirit of Christ. Let us anticipate this. I believe our Lord Jesus Christ is preparing to release a new ministration of the Spirit that will bring into being “able ministers of a New Covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit…”
…And as a result of it, the “children” shall hear Him, and see Him, and come to know Him!