Every time you see priests, or any pronouns referring to them, underline them.
 Yet let no one contend,
and let none accuse,
for with you is my contention, O priest.
 You shall stumble by day;
the prophet also shall stumble with you by night;
and I will destroy your mother.
 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
because you have rejected knowledge,
I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.
 The more they increased,
the more they sinned against me;
I will change their glory into shame.
 They feed on the sin of my people;
they are greedy for their iniquity. (ESV)
GOD is obviously, and rightfully so, furious at the spiritual leaders. As spiritual leaders, they are held to a higher accountable position.
 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (ESV)
 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. (ESV)
GOD is making an accusation against the spiritual leaders. What things is GOD accusing the spiritual leaders of?
What is GOD accusing the children of the priests of?
Are these the priests that Jeroboam, king of Israel, installed to lead the worship of golden calves, a false religion, or the priests who job it was to lead the people to the knowledge of the LORD? You may feel a little lost, so let’s jump into the history with a little summation to set up the scene.
GOD miraculously rescues the Israelites from Egypt, makes bitter water sweet, provides food from heaven, and supernaturally provides water from a rock. Because they are a stiffed neck people, bent to do their own will, when Moses goes up on Mount Sinai to have a long, long, long conversation with GOD, the Israelites fear something more than the LORD and make for themselves a false god out of gold in the form of a calf. What!?! The Israelites came into possession of the gold from the Egyptians, which could have only happened because of GOD’s providence. So essentially, GOD gave the Israelites the gold that they then used to make a false gods. The Israelite people worshipped this calf, that they made, for rescuing them from Egypt. Yikes! Fear of the wrong sort possibly lead to their hasty decision. Fast forward about 40 years, after most of the generation has died wondering around and living in tents, because of their disobedience. The Israelites are finally allowed to go into the land that the LORD has for them, the land of Canaan. They obey and fear GOD the most…..well… sometimes. Fast forward again, and after much time, Israel decides they want to look like all the other nations that have kings. They obviously did not realize that they already had a king that was better than any other nation. GOD granted Israel a king; Saul then David and then David’s son Solomon. GOD tore all but one tribe from Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, because of Rehoboam’s disobedience, giving those tribes to Jeroboam who then became the king of Israel. After seeing this, you would think Jeroboam would want to love and honor the LORD the most, following GOD’s law exactly, but you would be wrong. So read on to learn what Jeroboam does as one of his first acts as king of Israel.
1 Kings 12:25–33
 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. And he went out from there and built Penuel.  And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will turn back to the house of David.  If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.”  So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.”  And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.  Then this thing became a sin, for the people went as far as Dan to be before one.  He also made temples on high places and appointed priests from among all the people, who were not of the Levites.  And Jeroboam appointed a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month like the feast that was in Judah, and he offered sacrifices on the altar. So he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he made. And he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places that he had made.  He went up to the altar that he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, in the month that he had devised from his own heart. And he instituted a feast for the people of Israel and went up to the altar to make offerings. (ESV)
Jeroboam created a false god and a false religion because he feared losing power more than he feared the LORD. Instead of the people crossing the border to Jerusalem in Judah every year to worship the One True GOD, why not just make a god that the people could stay at home and worship? Isn’t it more comfortable and probably safer? This could be the reason GOD accused the spiritual leaders of rejecting knowledge, substituting generic god instead of the Real Deal. Also, we see these spiritual leaders feeding off of the sin of GOD’s people. Could this mean that they were literally living off of the sacrifices that the people brought to the false gods?
Or are these the priests that are suppose to represent GOD? Have they rejected knowledge by blending in some worldly knowledge, maybe even with good intentions of making themselves relevant in the world to attract the world to GOD? Did they forget GOD’s rules? Were they even feeding off the the sin of GOD’s people, and possibly even fueling the fire of the sin to gain more power and sacrifices that they could benefit from?
Whether it is one or a mesh of both these groups of spiritual leaders, GOD has made a formal accusal against them accompanying it with consequences of their sin. GOD says that they will stumble, be destroyed, be rejected, their children will be forgotten by GOD, and their glory into shame. As priests, they probably enjoyed a certain amount of honor and respect in their community that now will be turned to shame.
Do we see ourself as one of these spiritual leaders? Are we following a spiritual leader that is rejecting knowledge, forgotten the Law of the LORD, feed on the sin of GOD’s people and/ or greedy for iniquity? Don't look for things that are not there, but if this describes a situation you are in, please fear GOD the most asking Him the next steps to take. Tomorrow we will see more accusations, for the sins of these spiritual leaders will spread like wildfire.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.
“Dictionary by Merriam-Webster: America's Most-Trusted Online Dictionary.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/.
Green, Jay P. “Hosea.” The Interlinear Hebrew-Aramaic Old Testament: With Strong's Concordance Numbers above Each Word, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, MA, 1985, pp. 2075–2092.
Publishing, Rose. Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Time Lines. Rose Publishing, 2015.
Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible: Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order, Together with Dictionaries of the Hebrew and Greek Words of Th. Hendrickson Publishers, 1990.