Hebrews 3:19 (NASB) So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.
A generation of people crossed the Red Sea and just a twelve day journey (Kadesh-Barnea) separated them from their destiny. Yet forty years later these cohorts died in the wilderness, frustrating the purpose for their lives. Why? The author of Hebrews clues us in – unbelief!! What is this phenomenon and its dangers?
Spiritual warfare against the flesh and the devil will always involve facets of unbelief. It is helpful here to define our terms. The Biblical use of the term ‘flesh’ in an ethical sense refers to the whole unregenerate man, spirit, soul and body, considered morally as centered upon self, prone to sin and opposed to God.
(Gen. 6:3, 13; Isa. 40:6; 49:26; 66:23-24; Rom. 8:1-7; Gal. 5:13-24; Eph. 2:3)
Now the secret of sin’s stronghold over individuals is unbelief. It is in the words of the great Puritan, William Gurnall, “the sin-making sin”. It is the “hiding place” for the devil. The word (KJV) represents two Greek words, Pðåßèåéá, apeñtheia, “disobedience” (only in Romans 11:30, 32; Hebrews 4:6, 11), and Pðéóôßá, apistña, “distrust,” the antithesis to “faith”. The two words run into one another by where spiritual relations are concerned, as between man and God. For when God has spoken, in precept and yet more in promise, distrust involves, at least potentially, an element of disobedience. His supreme claim is to be trusted to command only what is right, and to promise only what is true.
Therefore, unbelief is the distrust of God that leads us to disobedience. Born in us at the Fall, it is manifested in a fierce independence from God combined with an intense determination to make life work. Perhaps this will cause us to see seriousness of unbelief – by unbelief we bear false witness against God. Warfare against flesh – a necessity to holiness – is a battle with unbelief. Please see the Topical Reference at the end of the devotions for a study of unbelief.