When our children are born it is an exciting time with many milestones being reached each day. There’s the first cry, first yawn, first diaper change, and so on. Then there is the first visit to the pediatrician for their first checkup. Right away they begin to measure, weigh, push, pull, and everything else that is involved in making sure they are healthy. They begin to chart all these findings into a file and let you know what percentile your child is in for various things.
Each doctor’s visit is more of the same assessments and more charting being done, all to make sure they are progressing like they should be. There are times when parents discover and realize that in some aspect their child is not where they should be developmentally. Whether or not it could be helped, as a parent you can’t help but feel disappointed and hurt.
The Hebrew writer discovers much the same thing about the brethren to which he was writing. “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, 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. 5:11-14)
Can you imagine someone telling you that you don’t know how to distinguish between right and wrong? Can you imagine someone calling you out and saying that you’re spiritually immature? We’d be outraged, hurt, and readily defensive wouldn’t we? The fact is we typically give ourselves the best light and while we admit we aren’t perfect we doing too badly either.
They were Dull of Hearing
In the text the Hebrew writer says that a large part of the problem is that they were dull of hearing. Being dull of hearing meant that they were lazy in their hearing. It’s the opposite of the Bereans in Acts 17 who were “with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”
Don’t we find ourselves being dull of hearing at times today? Maybe it’s lacking the eagerness to study, to follow along in a bible class, or to follow along in the collective worship. Maybe we find ourselves being dull of hearing in the sense that we just take whatever is said from the pulpit of classroom as truth and at face value never searching for ourselves.
They Weren’t Where They Should Be
As a result of their dull hearing the Hebrew writer points out that they weren’t where they should be developmentally as children of God. Instead of moving on to weightier matters and meatier subjects they were still on the milk.
Let’s ask a hard personal question? How long have you been a child of God? In comparison to how we develop physically where are you at spiritually? I don’t know about you but I can’t help bow my head when I think of where I ought to be.
They Lacked Proper Discernment
As a result of their dull hearing and lack of growth they lacked the ability to properly discern between good and evil. They hadn’t grown in their understanding and knowledge much less the application for their lives. Proper discernment is done by those who have their powers trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Again I think we’d naturally be offended if someone accused us of not knowing good from evil, right from wrong, godly from ungodly. But do we not often hear people say, and at times ourselves, “Is it a sin if…”, “Is it REALLY a sin if…”, “Will God really hold me accountable if…”. Those are the types of questions that typically arise from two sources; ignorance (not in a negative sense) or willful rebellion.
There are a lot of things that cause the lack of spiritual growth in our lives that we must constantly be on guard against. While the Hebrew writer had to say some strong words and warnings he also spoke great words of encouragement as well. “Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Heb 6:9-12)
Let’s grow by God’s grace to His glory.