They [the Israelites] were not able to enter [the Promised Land] because of their unbelief… The message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Hebrews 3:19, 4:2 (NIV)
These people of God heard the message of the gospel, but it was of no value to them. Why? Because they did not combine it with faith.
Christ sustains your life through the Word of God. So, you need to hear the Word. But if you do not hear the Word with faith, it will be of no value in your life.
Jesus made this truth very clear in the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:1-15). There is one seed, but four kinds of soil. Every weekend, the Word of God is preached. The seed is sown. But it has different effects in people’s lives.
For some the Word of God makes little difference. Their hearts are hard. Satan snatches the seed away. The Word is of no value to them. For others, the Word of God has only a temporary effect. Their hearts are shallow. Pressure comes and they shrivel.
For still others, the Word of God is choked by competing priorities. Their hearts are preoccupied with worries and money, and the desire for other things. And for some the Word of God is bearing a great harvest. Their hearts are good soil in which the seed flourishes.
Most of us know that parable, but here’s what Jesus said about it: “Consider carefully how you listen” (Luke 8:18). Here we are, all hearing the Word of God, but Jesus says, “Be careful how you listen, because it has radically different effects in different kinds of hearts.”
Can you think of a season (child, teen, college, young adult, middle age) when you heard the Word of God but it had little to no value in your life?