Daily Devotion|Day 262
“For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it” (Hebrews 4:2, NKJV).
The forty years the Israelites spent in the wilderness were a period of test. The test was primarily one of faith. Some failed the test. Consequently, they did not enter the Promised Land. However, others did pass the test. They went in and took possession of God’s promises.
At this point in the Letter to the Hebrews, the author is warning his Christian audience. He does so by reminding them of what happened to the Israelites in the wilderness. The basic problem at stake for the Israelites was a lack of faith (faith understood as confidence/faithfulness/obedience). In 4:1, the author tells his audience to approach their salvation with fear lest anyone comes short as it happened in the Old Testament.
In today’s opening passage, the Scripture says the Gospel was preached to the Israelites of old as well as to current believers (Christians). Unfortunately, the word which they heard (i.e. the Gospel) did not profit them. This means it is possible to hear the word of God in vain. The Bible then tells us why the word of God did not profit them: They did not mix the word with faith. The author of Hebrews wanted his audience to understand this so they too don’t become victims of unbelief.
The underlying message here is that hearing the word of God isn’t enough for one’s salvation. When the word of God comes to us, it doesn’t work independently of our heart’s disposition. For the word of God to benefit us, it must be mixed with our faith. This means putting complete confidence in what God says and making choices consistent with such confidence.
Blessing: May the Lord surround you with favor as with a shield. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
For further study: Matthew 13:1-23 and Numbers 14:1-38