Once we gave a friend a bag of fordhooks. Knowing she was a city girl, we did not do so without instructions.
“You will need to shell them tonight, or if you must wait until tomorrow, then spread them out on newspapers.”
A week or so later we asked her how she liked the beans. Her red face and downcast eyes told the story before she said a word.
“I left them in the bag overnight on the kitchen table and they soured and sprouted. I’m so sorry. I thought you were just exaggerating.”
Yes, we still speak and are still good friends. In fact, she is not the only one who has ignored our instructions and lost good produce as a result. All these people help me understand a couple of verses in the book of Hebrews.
And to whom swore he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that were disobedient? And we see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief. Heb 3:18-19
In one verse, the Hebrew writer accuses the Israelites in the wilderness of disobedience and in the next of unbelief. To him they were one and the same, and my disbelieving non-gardening friends prove the point. When you do not believe what you are told, you will not do what you are told.
Now granted, Keith and I are just ordinary people who might possibly be wrong, but you would think that forty years’ gardening experience would make us at least a little credible.
And certainly God should have been credible to people who saw Him send the ten plagues, part the Red Sea, send water gushing out of a rock, and rain manna night after night. But people always have an excuse if they do not want to obey.
“It can’t be that important.”
“God doesn’t care about such a little thing.”
“God is merciful and loving.”
“After all, I have done so many good things. That ought to count more than this.”
And so they deceive themselves into believing that the beans won’t spoil. And their unbelief becomes disobedience, something God has never tolerated for an instant.
For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. Heb 4:2,11