Rejecting the Good News

Still struggling through Hebrews 3-4.  I keep re-reading the same passages hoping something new will jump out at me.  Today, Hebrews 4:2 did — with alternate translation (set aside by **)that appeared at the bottom.

For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them **because it did not meet with faith in the hearers.**

My Bible is ESV.  Here is the verse in the New Century version –

2 The Good News was preached to us just as it was to them. But the teaching they heard did not help them, because they heard it but did not accept it with faith.

And Amplified version –

2For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it; neither were they united in faith with the ones [Joshua and Caleb] who heard (did believe).

And New International –

2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.

Suddenly, I had this picture of the twelve spies talking about the Promised Land, and the Israelites were not buying it. So the good news they had just heard didn’t help them.  That’s the picture the writer of Hebrews wanted to paint, and then bring it forward to their day, the “today” in the passage.

The Christians stood before the Jews with good news of the Messiah, the new High Priest, the ultimate Promised Land, God’s Sabbath rest — and the Jews weren’t buying it.

Their disobedience, their fears, their lack of faith, their unbelief kept them from taking that step.  He holds up the word of God as a living, active thing that can see to their very thoughts.  God sees that unbelief.

What we see so clearly in retrospect looking at the Israelites as they wander in the wilderness, God sees now as we choose whether to listen to the good news or reject it.

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