“So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief” (Hebrews 3:19 NIV).
While this verse brings us to the end of our look at Hebrews chapter three, our author will follow with some important conclusions from this passage in the following chapter. Nevertheless, we should not leave this portion of Scripture without a few last observations.
For instance, we should recognize that the Israelites who departed from ancient Egypt faced some genuine challenges as they approached the Promised Land. That land was a place that was “…flowing with milk and honey” according to Exodus 3:8. It also encompassed a region that Moses described as “…a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing…” (Deuteronomy 8:7-9).
Unfortunately, that rich and productive land was already inhabited- and the people who lived there were neither welcoming nor hospitable. For example, one people group living within that area were the Canaanites, a nation devoted to worship of pagan gods like Baal and Ashtereth. Then there were the Amorites, a barbaric, warlike race that resided in the hill country of the land. Finally, there were the Amalekites, a group that would later engage in a number of military actions against the nation of Israel.
Some of the advance scouts who explored the land described those inhabitants in the following manner: “…the people who live there are powerful, and their cities are very large and well fortified. Even worse, we saw the descendants of the giants there …We felt as small as grasshoppers, and that is how we must have looked to them” (Numbers 13:28, 33 GNT). That negative report was enough to motivate the majority of those who had left Egypt to seek to return to their former positions of servitude.
Yet even though the work of taking the land was certain to be laborious (and potentially dangerous), what was the alternative? Well, the alternative involved missing out on God’s best for their lives. It also involved decades of futility, as those who rejected God’s direction squandered their lives in a barren desert wilderness. When viewed from this perspective, we can thus conclude that the cost of following God’s direction is far less than the cost associated with our refusal to believe and act upon His Word.