11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing you are dull of hearing.
12 For when for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that uses milk is unskillfull in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
We have been studying through the book of Joshua recently. Yesterday, as we were discussing the differences between crossing the Red Sea and crossing the Jordan River, we discussed the differences between being saved and pursuing a life of discipleship.
God saving Israel by parting the Red Sea is analogous to the salvation experience. Likewise, the parting of the river Jordan to allow Israel into the promised land is analogous to the Holy Spirit leading the Christian into that abundant life of discipleship Jesus spoke of in the New Testament.
But what happens in between?
As you know, Israel wandered around the wilderness for 40 years. They did so because they initially refused to move forward with God. They were content to either stay in the wilderness or go back to Egypt. God gave them what they wanted.
This reminded me of the passage in Hebrews that talks about the milk of the word. In this passage, the writer laments that he cannot bring the meat of the word to his readers because they are still taking the milk. In simple terms, they barely understand the basics of the faith. Therefore, they don’t have a mind capable of understanding more complicated doctrine.
The readers of Hebrews are a lot like the Israelites wandering around in the desert. They are in between that place of salvation and discipleship, unable to move forward but unable to go back to Egypt. Is that where you are in your faith?
It’s sad to say that the typical American Christian is illiterate when it comes to Bible knowledge. Many of us are wandering in the wilderness, and contentedly so, because we are happy with the milk of the Word. As a former pastor, I find that very disheartening.
I, for one, finally reached the point in my Christian walk at which I was no longer content with the milk. I wanted the meat. Making the decision to pursue the meat of the Word through diligent study is what enabled me to pursue the life of a disciple. I have not been the same since.
How about you? Are you content with milk, or do you want more? If you want more, you have to stand up and cross the proverbial Jordan River. You have to go into the promised land and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and drive out the enemies before you. God won’t give the abundant life of the disciple if you’re not willing to do your part to get it. That’s how this works.