“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).
There has always been an abundance of those who can tell us how things are, but not why things are. Thankfully, God’s Word does both, and Hebrews 4:1-2 serves as a case in point. This portion of Scripture explains why we sometimes do not receive the rest we seek and points the way to how we may obtain it.
The experience of Old Testament Israel offers some important insight in this regard: “…the teaching they heard did not help them, because they heard it but did not accept it with faith” (NCV). If we are in a consistent state of unrest concerning a particular area of life, we may wish to consider the possibility that we are neglecting to trust God in faith.
We can test that premise with the aid of a few important questions. Some of those questions might include the following…
- What can I learn from the origin of this situation?
- What does the way I’m handling this tell me about myself?
- What lesson may God be seeking to teach me through this circumstance?
The answers to those questions may help explain why we sometimes fail to experience the rest described for us here in Hebrews 4:1-2. If we receive negative responses to some of these questions, we should acknowledge them before God in Christ with an attitude of honesty, respect, humility, and repentance. We can then ask for God’s help in trusting Him as we should in the circumstances and situations we encounter.
The author of Hebrews will encourage us to adopt this approach later in this chapter…
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16)
Another portion of Hebrews emphasizes the importance of faith in the lives of those who follow Christ: “Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:38)
Therefore, we should remember the following passage from the New Testament epistle of James when facing the trials and difficulties of life…
“Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything” (James 1:2-4 NLT).