When truth is not preached, mercy isn’t understood, and the world therefore lacks the knowledge of God’s character. The result is an idolatrous perception of God, which leads to lawlessness (transgression of the Moral Law). Notice that Israel’s sins were violations of the Ten Commandments (v. 2), such as lying, killing, stealing, and committing adultery. Their lawlessness resulted in judgment upon the land—droughts, etc.
“The Law, the Ten Commandments, is a reflection of the character and nature of God. Through the Law, we understand God, and what He expects of us. Through the Law, we see ourselves in truth. So to neglect the critical importance of the Law is to leave ourselves in ignorance of the nature of God and of ourselves.” Matthew Johnson
Hosea 4:1Hear the word of the Lord, You children of Israel, For the Lordbrings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: “There is no truth or mercy Or knowledge of God in the land.
2By swearing and lying,
Killing and stealing and committing adultery,
They break all restraint,
With bloodshed upon bloodshed.
3Therefore the land will mourn;
And everyone who dwells there will waste away
With the beasts of the field
And the birds of the air;
Even the fish of the sea will be taken away.