by Steven Chan
6 April 2008
In writing to the Christians who were scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, the apostle Peter exhorted them saying, “therefore, laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”
The apostle sought first for Christians to understand the consequence of the new birth and that was to lay aside the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21) as we are born again new creatures (2 Cor 5:17), blessed with new hope: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation…”(1 Peter 1:3-5).
The apostle Peter then urged the Christians to earnestly desire the sincere or pure milk of the Word that they may grow thereby. It is apparent that each and every Christian must “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”.( 2 Peter 3:18) – and that growth would only come through feeding on the Word of God: “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deut 8:3). In Acts 20:32, the apostle Paul commended the brethren “to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
Peter, the apostle, premised his whole exhortation for a changed life and a life of growth, on one vital experiential aspect of our life: “IF indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious”. IF one has not tasted the graciousness of the Lord, then it is not likely that there would be any change in one’s life nor any real desire to feed on God’s Word for growth unto “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:13). AND it IS IMPORTANT to note that the tasting of the graciousness of the Lord is personal and experiential as opposed to purely theoretical or conceptual or doctrinal. Brethren have been teaching and urging brethren to study the Bible and to change our lives, often to no avail – probably because some brethren have not experienced the graciousness of the Lord through a vital living relationship of daily trust in the provision from God.
Let’s consider the experience of men of God who walked with God in the past:-
“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.” (Psa. 34:8-10)
Some wonder why there may not be much spirit nor understanding in our congregational singing to the Lord (as is required in I Cor 14:15) during our worship services. Could it be because we have failed to experience the goodness of God in our personal lives?
Listen to the exhortation of the Psalmist:-
‘Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is pleasant… Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations…The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works (Ps 135:3; 100:4-5; 145:8-9)
Our hope should not be in Feng Shui or our own wisdom and abilities; it should be in the Lord because of His rich mercies and compassions; we should seek His Help at all times:
“Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, therefore I hope in Him!” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” (Lam 3:22-26).
During troubled times in our lives, we should seek Him for deliverance and comfort:
“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him… the LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Nah 1:7; Ps 9:9-10).
Have we learned to lift our souls unto God each day in prayer? – as was the practice of King David:-
“To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause. Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day. Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, for Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.” (Ps 25:1-7)
Oh what a wonderful example of trust and devotion portrayed by David – do you now wonder why he was able to slay the formidable enemy, Goliath? There is no reason to be fearful, ashamed, timid or shy – for our trust is in the Lord; no reason not to know how we ought to act and live – for the Lord is our Teacher and Guide; no reason to fear loss – for the Lord who is rich in tender-mercies and loving-kindness will ensure our salvation. Won’t we all want to praise Him with great spirit and understanding? Have you tasted that the Lord is indeed gracious? Will you lift your eyes away from your often overwhelming problems and unto Him seeking His deliverance? And be thankful each day for His compassion, tender-mercies and loving-kindness. O what a wonderful and gracious Lord we serve! Praise Him with great joy and with uplifted spirit!