The first 10 verses of this great chapter focus on the role of the high priest and Melchizedek. I am going to skip over these since this will be dealt with in more detail when we come to chapters 7-8. My pondering focus will be 2 application questions that emerged as I pondered verses 11-14.
About this (the high priesthood) we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
1) How do we become “dull of hearing”? – The author insinuates that his readers were at one time NOT dull of hearing but over time they have become that way. This can be true for us as well. We don’t want this kind of accusation leveled against us so what are a few things that contribute to spiritual hearing loss?
- Competing voices – I am a firm believer in this statement: The voices we listen to effect the choices we make! What other voices, besides the voice of God commands your attention?
- Distractions – Admittedly we live in a world full of distractions. One of the things we can do is to eliminate these when we are trying to listen to God. For me, when I am reading and pondering, this means the TV is not on. Music is not playing. I am not reading while trying to have other conversations. I find as quiet a place as possible and focus my attention on what the Lord is saying.
- Neglect – The easiest way to become dull of hearing is to not listen to what God says at all. This happens easier than you might think. You miss church. Life gets busy. Our routine is interrupted. And before you know it it has been several weeks and you have not heard the voice of God.
- Disobedience – When we neglect God we don’t give God a chance to speak. When we disobey, we pull away so that even if He does speak our hearts are far enough away that we can’t hear what He is trying to stay. The old adage is indeed true: If you feel far away from God, guess who moved!
2) What does it mean to be a baby Christian and how do you NOT stay that way? Being a baby Christian has nothing to do with how long you have been a Christian. It essentially comes down to this: Have you learned how to feed yourself? Babies don’t feed themselves. They are dependent on others to feed them. The author of Hebrews is calling out his readers and saying STOP being babies. Start feeding yourselves. So here’s the deal…. If your only connection to God’s Word is when you hear a sermon or listen to someone else teach a Bible lesson then you are being spoon fed and you are still a baby. It’s time to grow up and learn how to feed yourself. This is where pondering comes in. Pondering has to do with chewing on the Word of God. You don’t have to chew on milk. But you do have to chew on solid food.
I love the illustration of a cow chewing the cud. It chews on it’s food and then swallows it, digests what it can and then regurgitates what it didn’t digest so that it can chew on it some more. This process is repeated until the cow has gotten as much nutrition out of the food as it possibly can. This is pondering. Read the Word of God. Think on the Word of God. Apply the Word of God. Repeat. Then repeat again.
May the Lord use this brick to keep you from becoming dull of hearing and to challenge you to grow up in your salvation by learning to feed yourself on the solid food of God’s satisfying Word.