Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 4

Godís word tests us

Hebrews 4:12

We read about Joseph that Ďthe word of God tested himí (Psalm 105:19). That seems to mean that Godís promise to Joseph was a test for him. God had promised great and wonderful things about Josephís future life. (Genesis 37:5-10). But the things that God promises do not usually happen immediately. Joseph had to wait, and during that period he suffered much (Psalm 105:17-18). The test was whether he showed unbelief or faith (active belief and trust in God). Only a person who has faith receives the benefit of Godís promises.

The word of God tests us, too. God has given a promise that people may enter his rest (Hebrews 4:1). God is present in our lives as soon as we invite him there. But we must wait to receive everything that God has for us. During our lives here on earth, we will have many troubles. So we need faith, not unbelief. That is how Godís word (his promise) tests us today. And that is why we need to combine our faith with patience (Hebrews 6:12).

A human judge can only test the things that people can see. He cannot test the inner person: a personís intentions, thoughts, attitudes and desires. But the word of God does test these things. It discovers even what is in a personís spirit. It can reward even the smallest amount of faith (Matthew 17:20). Godís word is powerful: it always achieves its purpose (Isaiah 55:11).

But there is no reward for unbelief. The people whom Moses led failed their test. They had no faith; they showed complete unbelief. We must not imitate them.

The Bible gives us many examples of people like Joseph, who passed the test. These are the people who have faith (Hebrews chapter 11). We should have thoughts and attitudes that are like theirs.

Next part: God knows everything (Hebrews 4:13)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.