In today’s verse, we read about the power of the Good News. Hebrews 4:2 says: “For we have heard the good news of deliverance just as they did, yet they didn’t join their faith with the Word. Instead, what they heard didn’t affect them deeply, for they doubted” (TPT). The ESV notes that, “the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened” (ESV).
The Word of God is good. It is beneficial to all who partake. Just as when we consume a good meal, we receive nourishment from the meal, so it is as we consume and digest the Word of God, we receive nourishment. The Word provides us all we need to walk with Jesus. The Word equips and empowers us. The Word comforts us. The Word feeds our soul and it overflows into our daily life. When we are truly engaged and consumed by the Word, we are deeply affected.
This is not always the case though. There are moments in life when we can read the Word and not receive what we once did. There are periods when we aren’t getting the nourishment we once did. This doesn’t having anything to do with God or His Word. It is not what changed. The problem lies elsewhere. Before I continue, remember that the Word is often called our daily bread, honey, milk, etc. Think of food right now, specifically about consuming food. When we find ourselves not deeply affected, we have to look at our meal prep, our dining habits, and our actual eating habits. Even if we practice what may be good eating habits for some people, our metabolism is messed up or we have intolerances or allergies. We are different. For example, whereas some people get more from listening to the Bible in an audio format or with the Dwell app, other people need a physical Bible to read. While some people need a study Bible for some insightful commentary, others like the YouVersion app. Some people do well to read from the Bible in a year plan while others want to follow along with devotions. We are all different in the way we read, learn, engage, etc.
We change as we grow and mature. What might have once been beneficial to us, may now not be as helpful. For example, I used to glean a lot from certain types of devotions but now those same devotions actually take my mind away from where I need to be and actually steer my attention away. Also, I am always gleaning more and engaging more with a physical Bible with just God and me alone in quiet time in an area where there are limited distractions. I don’t want a small bite of Scripture. I want to sit with Him and be able to enjoy a feast of His Word. Having a few verses and a few minutes of a writer’s story doesn’t help me as much as simple diving into the Word. Basically I’m saying that I wouldn’t get as much from reading this very devotion I’m writing, as I would from opening up my Bible and reading a few chapters alone with Him.
If you don’t feel like you are deeply affected, I encourage you to take a step back and search your heart. Remember, God’s Word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). If you are reading your Bible daily, there should be fruit. You should be deeply affected. If you find yourself not being deeply affected, ask the Spirit for guidance. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Look at your schedule. Are you devoting time to the Word? Are you trying to squeeze the Word in like a Pop-Tart break or are you giving the Word the best of your time? Are you eating on the run, munching down a McDonald’s cheeseburger en route to somewhere else, or actually sitting down at the table (or a nice corner chair) to eat in silence? Are you taking time to enjoy your meal or are you scarfing it down so you can get on to the next thing? Is your heart open to receive? Are you eating a TV dinner when God has prepared for you a feast? May these questions encourage you to draw near to Him today and give Him your very best.