Chapter 5:11-14 (ESV) - 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.
Question to consider: What does the author mean that his readers needed milk, not solid food?
The author eventually will talk about Melchizedek in chapter 7, but he has to take them back to basics in chapter 6 because they don’t seem to even have a basic understanding of how the covenant of Moses relates to the work of Jesus. They have become dull in their hearing of God’s word and don’t even have the basic discernment skills to distinguish good from evil.
This indictment of the readers of Hebrews should hit us hard as a church today. We live in a time and place where everyone reading this post has access to the Bible in multiple translations and access to resources that can help us understand what it means in its biblical, cultural and historical context. We have podcasts, videos and blogs of church ministries, para-church ministries and discernment ministries. Granted there is a lot of craziness being preached out there, but God will direct us to truth and wisdom if we ask and are diligent to compare ideas with God’s word. I’m happy to share some great and free resources if you want to contact me for them.
Dull of hearing means that people have heard the truth so many times without letting it change them that they’ve become hardened against it. Religion can easily become a habit of rituals and recitations if we aren’t careful. The answer of course is not to get rid of the practices and prayers of a church service but to make sure we are engaging with God’s word and sacraments when given the opportunity. If something starts becoming dry or dull, we should revisit why we do or say things instead of abandoning them. We should also ask God to prepare our hearts to hear His word and do what it says.
Heavenly Father, we confess that we take for granted all of the ways that you have reached out to your people. Help us to grow in our understanding of Christ that we may be mature believers that can reach and teach the next generation. Please keep us from growing dull and stagnant in our faith, and give us a desire to walk with you. Amen.