Today’s readings… (Judges 10), (Judges 11), (Isaiah 26), (1 Peter 2)
Peter’s letters contain so much that is appropriate to life today and the circumstances that challenge those struggling to believe and develop their faith in God. This is equally true of those who have spent a lifetime as believers but now struggle in a world that has become almost totally godless. The world distracts us from taking “the pure spiritual milk” – and many are experiencing a spiritual famine. God’s words through Amos are so true of today, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord GOD, ‘when I will send a famine … not a famine of bread, nor thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.’ ” [8 v.11] Now think about what Peter wrote, “as newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that you may grow up to salvation.” [1 Peter 2 v.2]
Most people today have no time for Christianity, or in a God of any kind. Who can blame them for not believing in Christianity if they are to judge it by what they see of most churches today – it is a poor shadow and distortion of the message Peter and other Apostles took into the world with such energy and commitment so that the gospel became known throughout the Roman Empire: indeed Roman historians were writing about AD110-120 to testify how Nero put hundreds of Christians to death in Rome – and that was in AD64 – just 34 years (or thereabouts) after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus to heaven. How the message must have spread!
Peter quotes what we read a few days ago in Isaiah which says true believers must “offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: ‘Behold I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’ ” [v.5,6 – see Isaiah 28 v.16]
Peter, like Isaiah, is building up a mental picture of a spiritual house with Jesus being the cornerstone of the building, from whom all the measurements are taken. He makes the point, “if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good” [v.3] What is spiritual tasting like?
So many “taste” the things that appeal to them, what humanly appeals and they enjoy! But those fed on “pure spiritual milk” know differently! They “come to him (Jesus), a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God, chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house” [v.4,5] The pure words of Scripture, carefully read, compared, fitted together and understood, provide “the pure spiritual milk.” It is the nutrient that leads to real growth “that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light … now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” [v.9,10] Let us associate with those who take “spiritual milk” every day and make sure we are part of God’s “spiritual house.”