Senior Adult Weekly Devotional Wk. 88

By: Noah Barr

Meat for All!

Hebrews 5:11-14

 11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.  

After a stunning stretch of exhortation on Jesus’ priesthood, the preacher had then turned the people to consider a spiritual problem. After explaining Christ’s appointment as priest and His perfect eternal ministry, the preacher explained that some in the congregation had lost sight of the truths of Christ.

        “About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,” (Heb. 5:11-12). In the coming weeks we will discuss a priest from the Old Testament called Melchizedek. A very mysterious figure who the preacher saw fit to mention in his epistle. For some reason what Melchizedek represents is very important but quite puzzling. The preacher had to explain this mystery man throughout the book because the people were not understanding. The text tells us that some of the congregation had become dull of hearing. Because of this there were things that they should have understood but did not. What did it mean that they were dull of hearing? It simply means that they had become spiritually lazy. They had stopped pursuing the knowledge of Christ and, instead of moving forward, they were starting to forget the simplest ideas in the faith.

        The preacher made it clear that many of the people should have been teachers of others. However, many actually needed to be retaught themselves. Not simply retaught hard things, but the preacher said “the basic principles” meaning the very first things that a Christian should know and understand. These things are mentioned in Hebrews 6:1 such as initial repentance, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgement. In a nutshell, we understand that everyone will stand before the judgement seat of Christ and everyone will either be commended or condemned. The Christian repents and turns to Christ and then understands that his or her future is secure in Christ. It seems that many in the congregation did not understand these basic ideas. There is a tone of disbelief in the preacher’s voice as he said: “You need milk, not solid food,” (V.12). Clearly, he compared many to babies in the sense that a baby is not ready for solid food, because he or she is not developed for it. In the same way, many in the congregation were still not understanding even the simplest things of the Gospel. With all of the time that these people had been Christians they should have been well beyond where they were spiritually. They should have been meat eaters!

        “for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:13-14). Albert Mohler comments on this passage saying: “There is nothing wrong with giving milk to an infant. It is natural for an infant to live on a diet of milk. It would be pointless to put a steak dinner in front of a baby. The child is simply not ready for it. But everything is wrong with offering mother’s milk when the child is ready for steak. That is why the word picture in this text is so powerful. This congregation ought to be eating spiritual steak by now. Instead, they’re still living on milk” (Hebrews, Pg.81-82). We must now ask what is the solid food that the preacher was referring to? Looking again at verse 13 it is the word of righteousness. Our nourishment as Christians always comes from God’s Word. Therefore, it is so important to ask God that He would give us great confidence in the truthfulness of His Word. Without His Word we are a starving people.

        The preacher wanted the congregation to come to maturity. He wanted them to understand the mystery of Melchizedek. This would not be possible without instructing them in the basics as well the deeper truths about Christ’s priesthood and strength to save. The key to maturity was diving into the reality of Christ’s life and death. Therefore, the preacher gave them the feast of Hebrews that is all about Christ from start to finish. Christ is the source of nourishment for His people. As was said last week, Heaven is not the Christian’s ultimate prize, but Christ Himself. I heard a song that had the line “even heaven is hell if you were not there”. What a tragedy it would be if we arrived in Heaven only to find that the Lord Jesus Christ was absent. The preacher wanted them to be well fed by looking at Christ. He wanted them to know the fitness and sufficiency of the Lord. Not only did he want them to know these things but wanted them to be able to teach others! He does not tell them to go be mature but tells them what a mature believer looks like.

“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (V.14). Maturity comes through constant practice. Practically this means that as Christians if we want to grow we must constantly be learning. Our ministering should be continuous. Just as an athlete trains a little each day, so we too should be conscious of the moments which we can take hold of, in order to serve or learn about the Word. It seems from this verse that only the one who practices constantly will have wisdom. If we are to convince others, we ourselves must be strongly convinced. Our training in the Word will allow us to distinguish good decisions from wrong ones. Many times, the decisions we make or the advice we give is tainted by our own selfish desires, but the Word not only tells us good from evil but changes our very desires in those situations. In other words, the Bible not only tells us what is right or what is wrong but convinces us internally that good is good and evil is evil. In Christ, this growth is not a duty, but it is a gift from the Lord in which is rich blessing.

        Let all come to maturity and partake of the meat of the word. Let us be meat eaters who train others to do the same and may we have an attitude that says, ‘I don’t want anyone to miss out on knowing Christ, not just on the surface but with a deep knowledge, I don’t want anyone to miss out on the meat!”