Unbelief Gives God No Pleasure

Unbelief Give God No Pleasure turning back

Yet a little while, and the Coming One will come and will not delay; but My righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.
Hebrews 10:37-38 ESV

Unbelief Is Shrinking Back

Unbelief in the Righteous One
Oh, this scripture struck me when I read it Tuesday in Martha’s devotional, “His Righteous One.” The words that came popping forth were “shrinks back” and “no pleasure in.” Words I never wish to be stated of me.

Then to make sure it was really in my face, I took a call from a friend of the ministry who inquired about this very thing: “My soul has no pleasure in him.” Frightening words for sure.

Her question regarded God having a “soul,” and as I looked it up, I saw that the word “soul” here refers to the heart or desire. So while discussing it with her, I gained understanding on what the Spirit was communicating to me—our unbelief wounds the very heart of God. So in the JPT version of the Bible (John’s Paraphrased Translation – ha!), I read it as, “My children live by faith, but if they maintain their unbelief, My heart is wounded.”

Whenever I choose to believe something that’s counter to what God says, it hurts His heart. “So give me an example, John!” Okay, God says He loves me. But I don’t feel loveable, so I am going to believe that I am not loved. The examples could go on forever. God regularly tells me things that require my faith. And these often stand in the face of contrary circumstances.

Living by faith is living by His view, mind, life, and intent. And when I choose to believe my own vision, thoughts, capabilities, and purpose, I wound His very heart. I am calling God a liar when I refuse to believe Him. I put His character on trial every time I choose how I see it, over what He says.

Unbelief in the Righteous One

Unbelief is shrinking back
I use His love as an example here because this is usually our greatest stumbling block. I don’t love me, so how can He? God has a different definition of unbelief than most. He says unbelief is evil. “An evil heart of unbelief!” Unbelief is a big deal with God (Hebrews 3:12). “My soul has no pleasure in him.”  This isn’t about someone who isn’t born again because He has no expectations of the unsaved person. He says, “My righteous ones live by faith, and if he (meaning the righteous one) shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him?” It isn’t an unbeliever issue; it has to do with the righteous believing what He says and counting it as true.

I confess I have had an evil unbelieving heart. I have sometimes doubted what He has said to me. I have believed what I’ve felt about a situation rather than what He has said. I’ve looked at the evidence I’ve seen with my eyes and tallied it as truth.

At the end of the day, I don’t want it said of me that I shrank back or that His pleasure is not in me. I choose to live in His gift of faith—believing Him, His Word and His character.


* If you’re unaware of Martha’s daily devotional, I highly recommend them to you for your encouragement. For years they have been blessing those hungry and searching for edification. If you would like to receive them in your inbox, you can subscribe and have them delivered daily. Click here and start tomorrow.

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    • sue

      Oh Bless you John for expounding on this, I too confess that I have had an evil unbelieving heart. I have often doubted that HE could possibly mean that “scripture that jumped out to me as truth” was for me personally.
      Never saw this truth that you have exposed, I wounded HIS heart. OH GOD forgive me.

    • Sam

      Amen, amen.

      You touched many points, poignantly. Unbelief is the hallmark… of an evil heart! It is quite shocking and seemingly cruel to say that, but it is so true. To surrender to belief and faith is a battle for God’s love and for God’s purpose.

      Love abounding,

    • Linda

      Thank you John for bringing this to our attention. The Holy Spirit quickened my heart as I was reading it and gave me glimpses of it’s truth in my own life. I ask to be forgiven of my times of unbelief. I ask the Holy Spirit to continue to show me those areas of unbelief in my life. I do NOT want a hardened heart. I am ashamed to say this makes me very aware of all those ‘places’ where I am still in control because of my unbelieving heart. Lord forgive me. Thank you Lord for revealing this to me.

    • Sandy

      I was thinking…
      This issue of faith is so important in our walk with the Lord. And in Martha’s devotional today, she mentioned the desert Jesus went to to be tempted…
      I guess it’s the desert where He leads us to, in order to expose our unbelief…
      Even though I don’t really want to follow Him there, it’s so crucial that I go! The desert is actually a very good place to be…

      • shulamite

        Not only does the desert expose unbelief, it also cements our faith. Faith is strengthened and solidified in precarious places not in stability! The blessing Sandy is that you are never alone in your desert. Love you!

        • Sandy

          HE is there!!

          oh that I would see Him and not panic my way out…
          (love you too brother)

    • Paul

      Oh, Wow, John!!! Selah!

      P.S. I love the JPT…the best I’ve ever read on that verse! 🙂

      • Wanda

        I agree, Paul. That JPT version sent an arrow straight to my heart. His grief moves me even more than His displeasure

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