Where Does Real Courage Come From?

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Craving Baby’s Milk (Reflections on Rev 2:18 - Part 4)

How would you react if -- starving for a decent meal – you got served baby’s milk?

But that’s the problem, isn’t it? We think we know God. We’re adults in the Lord. But what if we’re not? What needs to happen for us to see the real condition of our soul not through our lens, but God’s? How do we shift from being boasters like the Laodiceans – proud, utterly self-sufficient, in need of nothing -- to beggars who need to hear the first principles of the gospel all over again?

“You need…baby’s milk” cried the Hebrews writer (Heb 5:12 MSG).

Boasting is a great danger to our soul. In the days of the prophet Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar had a horrifying dream. He saw a great and mighty tree that “was visible to the end of the whole earth” (4:10). Suddenly, an angel descended from heaven. The tree was chopped down. And the declaration was made: The Lord rules over all.

The king didn’t understand. He needed Daniel to interpret it for him.

“It is you, O king,” Daniel said (4:22). The king, like the tree, had become great and mighty in the earth. His heart was lifted up so he could boast, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” (4:30).

Daniel warned him. He pleaded with him. He counseled the king to “break off your sins by practicing righteousness” and “your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed” (4:27). It is here – in repentance, in doing right, in showing mercy to those in need – we find humility of soul. The perfect medicine against boasting and pride.

But the king didn’t take warning.

And down he came. Driven into exile until the king could testify, “Heaven rules…the Most High rules” (4:26, 32). The glory, the majesty, belongs to God and God alone.

Isn’t this the same story in Laodicea?

Jesus warns them. They’re boasters. They’re rich. They need nothing. Having no idea they’re lukewarm – wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Like Daniel of old, Jesus says the words, “I counsel you.” He has real riches to give them – “buy from me gold” – riches not of earth but of heaven (Eph 2:7). He has real clothes to give them – “buy from me…white garments” – that cover their shame and nakedness (Gen 2:7, 21). He has real medicine to heal their eyes so, blind to Jesus, they might see Jesus (Eph 1:18).

He’s giving them the gospel that saves the soul.

It’s baby’s milk to the newborn.

What does it take for us – lost in pride, arrogance, and boasting – to hear Jesus and “like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word” (1 Pe 2:2)? Do we have to be chopped down to hear Him? Or is the counsel of Daniel and our Lord enough?

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John 15:1-11, the Vine and the branches. "Is He everything to you?