“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation”
1 Peter 2:2 (ESV)
None of us have to be taught how to long for something. We long for the weekend, we long for a favorite meal, we long to engage in our favorite pastime. We are naturally attracted to that which our senses perceive to be good, beneficial or at least pleasurable. In our passage today, Peter calls his audience to long for the pure spiritual milk (the Word) so that they might grow. The saint who longs for the Word and with that hunger and eagerness gives himself to it, reading it, studying it, meditating on it, will know the growth that Peter has been calling his readers to.
In this passage Peter calls us to long for the Word like a newborn infant longs for the pure spiritual milk. The infant loves milk both because they delight in it but also because their lives are sustained by it. Milk for the infant is both a joy and a matter of life and death. Both of these concepts are captured in the immediate passage and in earlier parts of the letter. Notice the qualities of the Word that cause the saint to long for it.
The Word of God is the good news, 1 Peter 1:25, therefore our hearts delight in it. That good news tells us of our God, who saved man by sending his Son in the flesh. Being found in the flesh he lived and died in perfect obedience to the Father on behalf of man and rose victorious over the grave. In doing so he sealed our victory from death. This good news is the fountain of deep delight for every saint. The goodness of this good news has encouraged the saddest Lamentation 3:20-26, forgiven the guiltiest Luke 23:33-34; Rom 5:8, and strengthened the weakest 2 Corinthians 1:8; 4:1-6; 16. The good news is good and those who taste it, delight in it, lift their hands and voices in the sweetest and purest of pleasures and in that moment would happily trade all the earthly joys the world has to offer for a moment longer in deep delight in the goodness of the gospel. The saint longs for the Word of God because it is good news. Let your other longings for good things pale in comparison with your longing for this good news.
The Word of God is beautiful in its depth, the prophets inquired and searched carefully while angels long to look into it 1 Peter 1:10-12. The story of the Scripture is intriguing, surprising, awe inspiring Luke 24:27, 32. It is after all a story penned by God about God. It has been said that it is an ocean shallow enough for a child to wade in it and deep enough for an elephant to drown 2 Tim 3:15; 2 Peter 3:15-16. There is no topic more worthy of applying mental/intellectual effort in Ps 1:2; 145:5. It holds precious things for those who come ready to mine deep into its core Psalm 119:18; 2 Tim 2:7. Those who have tasted of its deepest treasures long for it all the more. Psalm 119:20, 40, 82, 131. Let your intellectual curiosity be focused on the Word. The best of minds, giving its utmost effort, for the rest of time, would never find a more worthy subject of study than the subject of the Word, God. Long to learn. Long to understand. Long to dive in and study the Scriptures.
The Word of God is powerful and by it we were born again 1 Peter 1:23. By His Word He made the heavens and the starry host Psalm 33:6. By His Word he brought the flood and destroyed the earth, Gen 6:11-12; 7:11. By His Word mighty Egypt was destroyed, Exodus 7:13, 7:22; 8:15; 8:19 and at His Word mountains quake and melt Exodus 20:18:19. By His Word a valley of dry bones came to life Ezekiel 37:1-10. By his Word He calmed the sea Mark 4:39, healed the sick Luke 7:7, cast out demons Mark 5:8 and raised the dead John 11:43. The Word of God, the good news is the power of God unto salvation 1 Cor 1:18. It is living and abiding, the saints who have been transformed by it long for it, Psalm 19:7-11. Let us long to see God’s transformative power at work in us. Let us long for the Word.
Brothers and sisters, it would be a book and not a devotional if we did not stop here, for the list of reasons why saints long for the Word of God is endless. Peter calls us to long for this spiritual Milk, for through it, the saint can attain spiritual maturity. The imperative to be obeyed in this section is that of “longing”. It is a strong term, the same word used in Psalm 42:1 “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God”. Let us long for the word for it is not only refreshingly sweet it is our very life, Matthew 4:4.