12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;
from the living God;
God is not remote from His people. He works in them day by day. He actively lives with or engages with them in their experiences. God is not like a god of stone or wood. He interacts with everyone in a living, providential way.
The words “the living God” refer to God’s life-sustaining presence by protecting His people throughout their wandering (Exod. 13:21–22; 15:13–17; 17:6–7; 23:20, 23; 33:14–15; 40:34–38; Num. 10:33–34; 11:16–25; 14:7–9). The sin of the Exodus generation was that they developed lack of trust in God’s life-sustaining presence (Ex 17:7) and provision for their needs (Nu 11:4-6, 18-23; 14:7-9). The “living God” stands in contrast to idols; God is immortal. This led to their refusal to trust God for their entrance to the Promised Land (Nu 14:8-10).
We exercise unbelief by faulting the living God for our problems.
Departure from true doctrine is also departure from the living God, from fellowship with Him. The situation of Israel in the wilderness can be what we face today (1 Co 10:6-11). We can depart from putting our confidence in God by trusting ourselves. This is deliberate disbelief in what God can do in our lives.
Unbelief is self-willed distrust in God. This attitude does not yield to God’s judgments or will. Distrust always breaks relationship, whether it is with God or others.