Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! – Hebrews 5:12
In the fifth chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews we find some of the most important advice that is given in this book. The purpose of the book of Hebrews was an exhortation to those who began to doubt that Jesus was the Messiah. In many ways it rebukes the claim that he was simply a man who was devoted to God and ultimately crucified for those beliefs. The reference of milk relies on some of the other verses in the chapter that speak of infancy and maturity.
Milk in Infancy
As a newborn we are fed milk because we are not ready for solid foods. Even as we gradually grow our diets begin with liquids then mushy food and finally real food. Milk is the most easily digestible sustenance we can stand until we grow. If we apply this to our spiritual life we can see why this was spoken of in Hebrews. The newly saved individual is in spiritual infancy and they need to be spoon-fed information and shown how to enjoy God more. How many babies learn to eat filet mignon immediately? You’ll find that it is none. They just can’t understand the food at the time so they cannot consume it and gain nourishment from it. Some people never leave this stage of spiritual development and that’s fine but God really wants us to grow and enjoy solid food.
Enjoying Solid Food
So how do we get to enjoy solid food? By becoming spiritually fit! We do that by practice. I cannot stress enough how important it is to reach out to God daily and talk to Him. Pray, worship, walk, serve and do all those things in Christ. Become kingdom minded (Matthew 6:33)! Solid food is for the mature who have trained themselves (Hebrews 5:13-15) and as stewards who are mature we must also be disciples and spoon-feed the new brethren because they don’t know the good from the evil and they will have questions. Lots of them! We enjoy solid food through those acts that are Christ-centered. We get nourishment from nourishing.
The book of Hebrews is one of the meatiest books in the Bible because it covers a multitude of concerns including the validity of Christ as Messiah, the refutation that a believer must convert to Judaism to be saved (this is not in any way a condemnation of Jewish beliefs but it is the purpose of the book), to show that we must nurture those who are young in their spiritual walk and more. How can I speak life if I doubt it myself? How can I profess my love of Christ if I question if I really love Him? Deep questions that I examined myself before I even considered beginning this journey of wanting to help other men. Not because I struggled with those specific questions but because I wanted to take a long hard look at who I am, who I was and who God wanted me to be. When we take another person’s potential salvation into our hands we are making ourselves a target for the enemy. Did I want to wage that war? It hasn’t been a battle yet but I am preparing myself spiritually by doing these devotionals and reaching out to men. By praying and worshiping God so that I can put on His armor and protect myself and those I love. That is why the soldiers of Christ need solid food and not just milk.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. – Isaiah 43:2
Water is vital to the Bible. It is vital for us to live. Water provides us with healing of the body. The connection to water is strong in the Bible and there is a lot of symbolism that occurs with it. We are baptized in water to symbolize the resurrection of our life in Christ. We say that our sins are washed in the blood of Jesus and that is what the water represents during the baptism. As we pass through the waters all things are new. Water did more than heal, it also destroyed. In that destruction, each time, God protected His children.
The flood occurs in Genesis 7:1-24 for the uninformed God spoke with Noah and saw him righteous. He saved Noah and his family against the destruction that He had promised. The Earth was flooded as the waters rose and everyone but those on the ark perished. God made a covenant afterward to never curse the ground for the sake of man again and He would never destroy every living thing as He had done. The curse upon the ground that God speaks of comes from the curse He had laid upon the Earth during the fall. This curse made it harder for man to find sustenance whereas in the Garden the fruit grew from it’s perfect ground and all things flourished. God lifted this curse as the flood had abated His anger, even in His disappointment of humanity, God found someone, some people worthy to love enough to save.
The Red Sea
The parting of the Red Sea happens in Exodus 14:1-31 in this God had delivered the Israelite people from Egypt and led them to a place call Pi Hahiroth where they were to encamp. God told Moses he would harden the heart of Pharaoh and that Pharaoh would pursue them. He did so bringing out a massive army. There, in Israel’s doubt of God, Moses lifted his hand and his staff and the Lord parted the sea so that through the night His people could cross to safety. When dawn was nearing and Egypt pursued them across the sea bed God cause their chariots to become stick. He then commanded Moses to lift his hand once more and when Moses did the sea closed around the army of Egypt and the waters swept them all away with no survivors. God was fulfilling his promise in Isaiah long before it was made.
I don’t know about you but I have issues with doubt. I genuinely think we all do because we were given free will. It can express itself in many ways and one of those ways is by listening to the enemy. He will lead us in to troubled waters much like the experience of the disciples on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus wanted to cross the sea and slept along the way. Even though He was with the disciples in the flesh, they doubted and woke Him. This was the first time Jesus calmed the storm for the disciples. It wouldn’t be the last.
We are constantly are struggle with many things in our lives and those trouble waters can be hard to navigate because we try to control them when we really need to stop holding on and just be held by Him. I certainly founder here but even in the storms God has not let me lose focus. I love Him more every single day because I am pursuing Him. I want my race (John 7:38-39) to mean something. With God as the captain you can navigate the toughest rivers and you will never be left to tread water.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. – Genesis 50:20
Joseph’s brothers did intend for him to be harmed. They were jealous of the love that Jacob (who was called Israel by God) bore for their younger brother. So jealous in fact that they sold him in to slavery to get rid of him. God had better plans for Joseph than what his brothers had intended. Joseph was patient and understood that even though he was going through tough times there was something God was working on within him and within his life that may not have been Joseph’s plans but that God had planned for him. Joseph did not know what those plans were but he had faith. Many of the men in the bible had extraordinary faith but they were not perfect. Everyone of them failed but Jesus. Even at the most difficult point in any person’s life Jesus trusted the Father. Joseph, even in the most difficult parts of his life trusted the Father’s plans because they were far bigger than him.
God’s Plans are About Trust
In all things God asks tells us that to be one with Him we must have faith in Him. Faith is defined as complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Every time we willfully go against God’s plan we are saying we distrust Him. We don’t show trust in our Creator, our Father. Men, if you are a dad how does that feel? To know your child has no trust in you. Not in that youthful fear that kids so often present when you play something scary but in that complete lack of faith in daddy. It hurts, it makes you feel like you do not measure up. To an extent that is how it is for God. We displease Him with our disobedience because we are saying we do not trust that He knows what is best for us (Isaiah 58:11) even if we don’t think He is guiding us He always is.
God’s Plans are About Obedience
If we have the capacity to trust God fully then obedience to His will is part of the package. His will is the plan that He has laid out for you. To trust God with your life plans is to obey Him (Jeremiah 7:23). Obedience for me is a scary prospect I’m a very strong personality and like to think I can control my plans despite God telling me and showing me that no, it is not possible for my plans to be better than His. I left college, moved away from my family and ended up over $40,000 in debt before coming home broken. I punished myself by refusing to do bankruptcy, I could have but felt like I needed penance. That’s all changed now because of God not myself. I did a lot of work but that change of heart came from Him working on me and my decision to finally obey His will.
If there was one passage that pointedly describes God’s will against our own it is Jeremiah 29:11-14. God knows His plans for us and I oftentimes do try to plan but what is a ten year plan compared to the plan of eternity? It pales in comparison but as God tells us if we seek Him with all of our heart then He will hear our pleas and restores us. Restoration of our fortunes. My fortune is my salvation, it is my friends and family. My fortune is my future wife and the kids she allows me to be the father of. God has done amazing things in my life since I made the choice to be a vessel for his love and a fountain to spill forth those great things on to others. He has given me so much more than just my salvation and I am humbled to tears in my thanks of the grace he endlessly provides.