Before 1849 California was declared a waste land and said to have the least resources of any place on the North American continent. That was until the gold rush. Thousands of people left family and home in the hope of striking it rich. Some did, but most didn’t. The gold rush left many more impoverished and hopeless than before. For many California was indeed a waste.
Everyone is in search of hope. Yet we live in a world of pain, disappointment, doubt, and hardship. God may even seem distant and uninvolved. Hope in this world seems fleeting and lost. Where is lasting hope to be found?
Everyone places hope in people. We put our hope in parents, spouses, children, friends, teachers and leaders. We are in constant search for vibrant life-giving teaching that will wow our socks off and stir our affections. While that teaching can be found, its content must never compromise the truth (5:11-12a).
“About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 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, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.” – Hebrews 5:11-6:8
In this, the third warning in the book of Hebrews, we warned to beware of false and flashy teaching that sweeps in and takes the place of true teaching. Our ears often are drawn to the newest self-help fad or smooth-talker. The author of Hebrews calls dull ears to listen and become wowed again by the basic teaching of God, discern what is true, then move on from those teachings to other doctrines (6:1-8).
When one starts primary school he will learn the ABC’s so that he might read words, sentences, books— in fact, anything in literature. The challenge is to renew a passion for basics of faith, which are the building blocks to a deeper hunger to know the wonders of God and be wowed again by him (vs.12b-14).
The greatest and lasting hope in this world is indeed found in a person—The Word who became flesh (John 1:14). Hope is found in Jesus. His teachings are richer than gold for the soul. Dig into his words and the deeper you go the more hope you will find.
Questions for Reflection:
- What are the basics of faith?
- How are the basics important to understanding the more complex issues of faith?
- Where does our culture turn for help to grow wiser, stronger, and more mature?
- What is the danger of becoming too familiar with the basic principles of God?
- What is the opposite of dull hearing? How can you cultivate vibrant hearing? What illustrations in the passage help you understand the difference?
- What wows you about God? What do you want to know more about him?
- How can you stir others towards a greater hope in Jesus?