‘I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms.’
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: 1 Thessalonians 2:1–12
What a mercy it is that the Lord reveals to us his own truth by slow degrees! We ought never to expect our young converts to understand the doctrine of election and to be able to split hairs in orthodoxy. It is vain to overload them with such a precious truth as union with Christ or so deep a doctrine as predestination.
Do they know Christ as their Saviour and themselves as sinners? Well then, do not try to make a child run; it will never walk if you do. Do not try to teach the babe gymnastics; first let it totter on and tremble forward a little way. ‘I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now’, said the Saviour. Now, had certain reputedly wise men been there they would have said, ‘Lord, let us hear it all; make full proof of it all; bring it all out: we can bear it—only try us.’ But our Lord ‘knew what was in man’, and, therefore, he only brought out the truth little by little, line upon line, precept upon precept, and he does so experimentally with his children still.
We do not know our own depraved hearts so well at first as we do afterwards. Both the disease and the remedy have to be more fully revealed to us by-and-by. Did we know at the first all that we shall know hereafter, we should be so overwhelmed with the abundance of the revelation that we should not be able to endure it; the Lord, therefore, lets in the light by degrees. If a person had been long famished, and you were to find him hungry, faint and ready to die, your instincts would say, ‘Put food before him at once and let him have all he wants.’ Yet this would be a ready enough way to kill him. If you are wise, you will give him nutriment slowly, as he is able to bear it. If you have been long in the dark and come into the light at once, your eyes smart and you cannot bear it; you need to come to it by degrees; and thus it is with the Lord’s children.
FOR MEDITATION: God’s menu for spiritual growth begins with milk as a starter (Hebrews 5:13; 1 Peter 2:2), followed by a second course of strong meat (Hebrews 5:14). It is unwise to begin too greedily, but just as inappropriate to be content with the starter when it is time to be well into the second course (1 Corinthians 3:1–2; Hebrews 5:11–12). Our knowledge of God is to increase, not remain static (Colossians 1:10; 2 Peter 3:18).
C. H. Spurgeon and Terence Peter Crosby, 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 3), (Leominster, UK: Day One Publications, 2005), 358.