The spiritual level of a nation will never rise above the level of its spiritual leaders. Everyone wants to blame someone else for the condition of our nation. The Democrats blame the Republicans, and the Republicans blame the Democrats. The liberals blame the conservatives and the conservatives blame the liberals. Of course, everyone blames the church and the Christians for "holding back" progress.
However, in the Book of Hosea, Israel is being judged for whoredom, adultery, and idolatry. The judgment is multifold which means that God has removed His blessing, and Israel will go into captivity. Finally, in chapter 4, God gets down to the meat of the issue as to whom He should hold personally responsible for the fall of Israel. They departed from God and His Word and chased after Baal and other false gods. God blamed the SPIRITUAL LEADERS of Israel. It was the Priests who caused the nation to depart from Him and His ways.
We can trace the downfall of the nation to the corruption of its priesthood. Instead of being light for those in darkness, the priesthood was the blind leading the blind. Instead of being a source of illumination to the words and ways of God, they had become darkened by sin and neglect themselves.
The nation copied the sins of the priests. The priests not only indulged themselves in the sins of the world, but they encouraged the nation also to do so. When a nation seems to be spiraling out of control, one would think that at least there would remain one sense of morality, order, integrity, and righteousness and that being among the religious leaders. However, the priests in Israel had rejected the laws of God.
When the priests encouraged the people to sin, that meant an increase of sin offerings the people brought to the altar, which in turn meant that the priest grew in wealth. They were getting rich at the cost of the nation turning its back away from God.
Therefore, as the religious leaders turned away from God and His Word, the nation followed suit. They perished because of lack of knowledge. The priests’ religion had become one of tradition and ceremonial, void of the intimate love of God and His goodness. Their teachings lacked the passion of being spiritual and moral, which would have challenged the people to walk upright before a Holy God. However, we cannot give what we do not possess. Whenever our religion places its ceremony above the spiritual, its false unity above the love of God, and its feel-good message above the presence of God, then it becomes irrelevant and is useless as salt that has lost its saltness.