Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
Hebrews 4 makes two comments on how the word of God works in our lives.
The first comment answers the question, “After God helped the Israelites escape from Egypt to go in the Promised Land, how come they got stuck in the desert for 40 years?”
The New Testament Book of Hebrews gives this answer: When the Israelites encountered tough times, they were quick to blame God for their problems. They invented a conspiracy theory that God brought them out of Egypt just to watch them die in the desert (Exo 14:11-12).
Their hearts were stuck in the slave mindset of complaining: blame it on the government, blame it on the leaders, blame it on the opposition. God’s response was another promise. He said,
“I declared an oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest’” (Heb 3:11, quoting Psalm 95).
Hebrews concludes that though the Israelites heard the good news, the message didn’t sink in. It did not benefit them because they did not combine it with faith (Heb 4:2).
God’s promises to us don’t work like his word at creation. Back then, he said, “Let there be light”, and there was light. But his promises to us are useless unless we receive them with faith.
How and where to find faith is a problem.
Some teach that faith is something you generate in yourself: you focus and psych yourself up until you believe! But for most of us, that doesn’t work. Instead, ours is a journey of faith, through a Desert of Unbelief. In times of trouble, we struggle … to keep a soft heart toward God. We struggle … to quash the lies and conspiracy theories. We struggle … to live in the light God gives us.
Hebrews makes another comment about God’s word, saying:
The word of God is living and active,
sharper than a double-edged sword
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow;
it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Heb 4:12).
Nothing in this verse suggests faith is required. Here the word of God acts directly and powerfully like it did at creation, separating light and darkness, dividing soul and spirit, piercing joints and marrow.
Imagine for a moment your knight in shining armor, driving his sword into your stomach, until it hits your diaphragm, separating your breath or spirit from your soul or your sense of self. Imagine again the sword driving into your elbow, piercing the joint and separating the bones.
Not exactly comforting images, are they?
Our Father, we sympathize with the Israelites’ wilderness journey. Like them we find your way difficult. You often leave us thirsty and hungry. The promised land is distant and elusive. We are not sure how to quiet our complaining, how to combine your promises with faith.
We hear you promise that your word is living and active like a double edged sword. May it judge the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. May it expose the inner sources of our lack of faith. May it do its surgery on our hearts. O God, you freed us from bondage, now free us from the faithlessness we learned in our long years of slavery.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.