So that’s the grunty, sweaty, tense, roll up your sleeve part of lambing over again for another year.
Now there’s just the wearing ‘tie’ of being here three times a day at the appropriate times to make up bottles of formula milk for the lightweight lambs and orphans whose mothers lost a teat, failed to give enough milk or just failed to make it through lambing at all.
And it can be quite a battle pulling those little lambs through. You can have all the teat-stripping, stomach tubing, bottle feeding skills in the world … but some little lambs just don’t want what is good for them. Rather than drink, they’d die. And at some times of day and night, after expending tired and exasperating effort in some cold and dimly lit stinking shed as you kneel or squat in the straw tacky with the rejected milk that’s run down your arm and into your jacket … you’d let them have their choice.
The colostrum, the first milk that stands between them and a lingering death? Some lambs just do not want it!
And so Peter writes (1 Peter 2:2-3) “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
Two things stand out.
Lambs that don’t want it … and lambs die.
Then shepherds take inadequate care over cleanliness, sterilising fluid and good lambing shed hygiene … so lambs die.
Firstly, you’ve got to DESIRE it, in fact CRAVE it, which is a matter of the decision of the will not of an emotion … it must be because Peter can tell us to go and do this thing!
Secondly, what you crave must be uncontaminated … that pure spiritual milk of the Word of God that feeds the depths of the soul.
When our lambs don’t want to take milk from their dams or from a bottle, we stomach tube them … we don’t like it, but they live and are often soon strong enough or wise enough to get back onto their Mams or onto a bottle.
Peter, nor God Himself, actually give us that option … someone wiser and more understanding putting the essential soul food of God’s Word down a tube and straight into human hearts, and by-passing the wayward, milk rejecting human will in order to preserve spiritual life.
You and I have got to crave it, this pure uncontaminated milk of God’s Word … or (according to Peter) we will not grow up in our salvation.
And that’s a pretty heavy duty euphemism for this late in lambing on a quiet Sunday night.
I really need my bed … good night people.