This scripture has been much on my mind the past few weeks…
“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
This scripture refers to the first generation of the Israelites who Moses led out of the land of Egypt. God set them free from their oppressors. They had been in Egypt 400 years. After Joseph’s death, over time, a Pharaoh arose who did not know Joseph and it was under him that the Israelites became slaves in Egypt, forced to do the hardest of labor.
When Moses led them out of their prison, the people saw great wonders of deliverance from God, demonstrations of His care for them. I’m speaking of the Red Sea crossing, as they walked over on dry land, but when Pharaoh’s army tried to do it, the sea swallowed them up. The people saw their enemies totally overthrown. There were times they didn’t have water, He made water come from a rock for the few million of them. He gave them supernatural food in the wilderness. Psalm 78 recounts the early history of the nation. But yet they did not remember His power, vs. 42 says. They continued to grumble and complain in unbelief.
Egypt is a type of the world. We have also been delivered from the ways of the world (sin). We have been given promises, a type of Promised Land, just like they were. We are told these promises are for us. 2 Peter 1:2. They were told the Promised Land was theirs. But ten men were able to sway the whole nation and convince them they could not have it. The devil loves to persuade us too that we can’t have what God has promised us. Will we let him gaslight us? Will we let the devil bamboozle us and keep us from our promised land, a better life? We need to press forward in faith. All the promises of God are yes and amen! 2 Corinthians 1:20
That first generation of Israel eventually died in the wilderness because they did not believe the promises of God. They never obtained what God had promised them. The word God spoke to them did not profit them, because they didn’t embrace it with faith. They had faith in what the ten spies said.
There were two spies who said the people could have the promised land, but their voices were drowned out. Those two also didn’t get to enter the promised land until later, but they had the privilege of training the next generation and getting them ready to enter in. Joshua became their leader. The next generation, the children of those who did not believe, were the ones we see at the beginning of the book of Joshua. They were the ones who went forth in faith to obtain what God had promised. Everyone knows the story of Jericho.
As one keeps reading in the book of Joshua, we see they weren’t perfect. They made mistakes, but they continued to steadily conquer and take the promised land. Every victory builds faith, even for us. That history is important. Later we see that succeeding generations were disobedient and paid the consequences. But God never gave up on them, continually raising up leaders as the people cried out to Him.
Are we mixing the promises of God with our faith in order to obtain them from God? This life of faith is not a passive one. He requires us to actively participate with our faith and actions. I always say, the promises don’t just land on us. We have to participate. We have to pursue it, because we live in this earth with a devil who is always resisting and hindering God’s will from being done “on earth as it is in Heaven.” That is what we pursue…God’s will being done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Let us not be like those that Hebrews 4 speaks of. Let us always mix our faith with what God is speaking to us. We CAN have what He has promised us! All the promises are yes and Amen!
2 Peter 1:2 “…as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”