We know Paul says in Romans 10 that faith comes by hearing, specifically by hearing the gospel preached. The writer of Hebrews makes a related point by inverting this truth: Hearing comes by faith.
In Chapter 3 of Hebrews, the writer says that there was a generation of our forefathers in the Old Testament who “had the good news preached to them” but nevertheless failed to reach the land promised as their inheritance. The reason they failed to enter the land, even though they were part of the congregation of the Exodus, and even though they had good news preached to them, is that they did not “hear” the gospel, that is, hear the gospel with a view to obeying. They heard the gospel without faith.
What this teaches is that faith both begins by hearing the gospel preached, and it is essential if we are to hear the gospel preached. The difference in the two groups mentioned in Hebrews (those who fell in the desert and those who entered the rest) is the faith by which they heard what their leaders were saying. Let us be very careful to “listen” to our leaders in the faith, lest we fall to disobedience. In other words, let us make sure we have the ears of faith when our leaders preach the good news to us.