The picture of the whole generation who perished in the wilderness is brought to mind, and the question is, What did they lack, and why did they perish? They did not lack the message of “good tidings.” It was preached to them. They did not fail to hear the message. The reason was that “the word of hearing did not profit them, because it was not united by faith with them that heard.” Where faith is lacking, the provisions of God are unavailing.
Nevertheless, the purpose of God abides, and seeing that some have failed, the offer is repeated, this time by the superior speech of the Son. Therefore the urgent appeal in the first verse.
Closely in connection, the writer deals with the superiority of the Son over Joshua. He completed that in human leadership in which Moses failed. He led the people in. Nevertheless they did not enter into rest.
The declaration unquestionably concerns the Son. “He that is entered into His rest hath Himself also rested from His works, as God did from His.”
The writer then turned to the question of the superiority of Christ as Priest. Christ is revealed as One who has passed through the heavens, and now is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high. On the basis of that believers are urged to hold fast their confession. The Son, as Priest, is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” The second appeal, therefore, is, “Let us draw near with boldness.” The boldness referred to is confidence in the understanding and tenderness and ability of the enthroned Priest.