“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:1-3 NIV)
How do we know if something tastes good or not? You would think that the obvious answer would be to take a bite! But often this is not what we do.
I remember how my children reacted when I introduced a new dish to them. First they would look at it. Did it look appealing? Then they would smell it – did it smell good? (There is actually good sense in the smelling because this is part of how we taste.) As they got older they would ask to see the recipe to see what it contained. But the only real way to know if something tastes good is to try it.
The Psalmist (we believe it was David when he was acting insane; at least this is what the preamble states) said this:
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” (Psalms 34:8).
In this Psalm he gives the reasons why he believes that when we taste the Lord we will find him good. When he prayed God answered him and delivered him from his fears. God helps the poor out of their troubles. God camps around those who follow him and delivers them. God makes sure his people lack no good thing. God rescues his servants and doesn’t condemn those who take refuge in him. In other words, as far as David was concerned, the evidence was in: he had tried God and found him to be good!
But how can we taste God?
“Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalms 34:12-14)
Following and serving God requires a person to live their life for God. They needed to live changed lives in what they said, in what they did, and in what they pursued.
Isn’t this what Peter wrote here? We have to get rid of everything in our lives that are evil: malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander. Those cannot be part of the life of God’s people. Sadly, this seems to be what many around us crave, as can be seen in how they live their lives and what they post on social media.
Instead, we are to “crave pure spiritual milk”. Milk, we realise, is necessary for babies to grow and develop. Spiritual milk is necessary for new Christians to “grow up in your salvation”. But what exactly is this “spiritual milk”? If we check the context by reading the verses before this, we discover that Peter is talking about God’s word (keep in mind that the chapter breaks were not part of Peter’s letter and often break the continuity of thought).
“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, ‘All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures for ever.’ And this is the word that was preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:22-25)
It is when we spend time in God’s word, see how God interacted and blessed people in the past and see the instructions he has for us and the blessings that are promised, we see that he is, indeed, good.
Maybe the question for us is this: have we tasted God to see that he is good? If we haven’t we need to give him a try.
Image by RyanMcGuire from pixabay.com. Free for use.
Readings for next week: James 1-5; 1 Peter 1-3