Saturday, August 18, 2018

Tres Leches

Photo by AndonicO 2006

Although our physically demanding dance ministry demands that I pursue a healthy lifestyle overall, and particularly a healthy diet, I must confess that I love sweets. As my husband and dance partner likes to point out, “She never met a dessert she didn’t like.”

To which I often reply, “Just hand over my ‘medicinal’ chocolate, and no one will get hurt!”

One of my favorite desserts is Tres Leches, a delectable Mexican concoction so named because its recipe calls for three milks, namely evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream. The end result is a sponge cake layered in custard, drenched in sauce redolent of caramel, and topped with whipped cream.
This unique confection got me thinking about symbolism involving milk in Scripture, and I realized that it can involve God’s creation, God’s provision, and God’s Word, consistent with the pattern of threes echoing the Trinity reflected throughout the Bible.

In the midst of his suffering, Job imagines a conversation he would like to have with God, and he asks for God’s mercy on His own creation. He poetically compares God’s creation of man to sculpting a masterpiece from clay, curdling cheese from milk, and clothing him in flesh and skin supported by bones and sinews (Job 10:8-11).

The process of curdling cheese from milk may symbolize seminal fluid entering the womb, and, at conception, beginning a process in which the developing embryo and fetus become progressively solidified, albeit containing fluid within blood vessels, brain ventricles, and lymph vessels. It is unlikely that Job understood this completely, yet by inspiration of the Holy Spirit he wrote a beautiful metaphor describing prenatal development, a process totally governed by God (Psalm 139:13-16).

Milk as a symbol of God’s provision is abundant in references to the Promised Land He offered to His children as a land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3:8, 17; 13:5, 33:3, etc.). God promises that if we work diligently, He will bless us with goat’s milk, referring generally to the food He provides, to meet our own needs and those of our family and employees (Proverbs 27:27).

In the Song of Solomon, the love between a man and his wife, which is also a symbol of the love Jesus Christ the Bridegroom has for His bride, the church, is portrayed three times using milk as a symbol of delight, purity and beauty. He praises His beloved, for her lips “drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon (4:11).”

He further describes his delight in their union as “I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk“(5:1). In return, the beloved spouse praises her Bridegroom, for "His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set (5:12).”

Jesus Christ, Who is the Living Water, promised us that once we know Him, we will never thirst again (John 4:10-14). The prophet Isaiah foretold this and promised that God offers not only water to all who thirst, but also milk and wine offered freely at no cost (Isaiah 55:1), for we cannot buy or earn our own salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). Rather, it is only by trusting in Christ’s completed work on the cross to pay for our sins, in His burial and in His resurrection proving that He is God, that we can be saved and have eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

Isaiah also prophesied that God would bless Israel so richly that her breasts would nourish not only her own people, but also all nations and even Gentiles (Isaiah 66:10-13). This has been fulfilled in part through the birth of Jesus in Israel (Luke 2) and will be fulfilled completely when Christ returns and rules in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 3:12; 21:2). The prophet Joel describes the blessings of the New Jerusalem as “the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters” (Joel 3:18).

God is honored when we give a portion of His blessings back to Him as an offering, so it is appropriate that Abraham offered a feast of milk and butter, and a calf representing their earthly source, to God and two angels who visited him in human form (Genesis 18:8).

Just as God created us and provides for all our physical needs, He also satisfies our soul with spiritual blessings. He communicates with us, leads us, and nourishes us primarily through His Word. Newborn infants receive nourishment exclusively from the perfect food of their mother’s milk, or from infant formula, whereas babes in Christ grow spiritually from the sincere milk of the Word, meaning fundamental passages explaining salvation (1 Peter 2:2).

But as we grow physically, our diet becomes more varied and comprehensive, including meat once we are able to digest it. Similarly, as Christians growing in our walk with Christ, we need to supplement our spiritual diet with all Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16), including the “strong meat” that is more difficult to assimilate (1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12-13) yet is essential to our strength and vitality as Christ’s ministers (1 Corinthians 4:1), fellow-laborers (1 Corinthians 3:9) and ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) doing His work in this lost, sinful and dying world (John 17).

Still, we should never lose our taste for the milk of the Word, and we should never tire of hearing the Gospel message. Even after a hearty steak dinner, I can always find room for the sweet, rich, satisfying experience of Tres Leches. May we always taste and see that the Lord is good!  (Psalm 34:8)

© 2018 Laurie Collett



Susan said...

Well put, Laurie, we need both the basic milk that we’ve been fed on since birth as well as the tougher meat that is sometimes difficult to chew, and sometimes hard to swallow, it strengthens us for the trials we have yet to encounter... thank you for visiting my blog, I hope you will continue to think on the things I present about the timing of the rapture, even if you don’t agree, perhaps we can talk about it 😊❤️

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
That Tres Leches dessert pictured at the head of your blog does look appetising! As you say, the most attractive of foods are those which are weight gaining, therefore making any ideas about going on a diet rather burdensome and rather off-putting to say the least!
But a little more seriously, the Bible does encourage the young and the newly-converted to feed on the milk of the Word before moving on to strong meat.
Which make me realise that in our home, more milk is consumed during morning breakfast than any other time of the day, with meat and veg eaten mainly during the evening. I have wondered whether our daily eating habit, quite normal here in the UK, is symbolic to our daily need to "consume" the Word of God.
An excellent blog, God bless.
It's just a thought.

Frank E. Blasi said...

I meant to say:
It's just a thought.
An excellent blog, God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Thank you, Susan, for your comment. May we feast on all aspects of God's Word and be blessed and grow from it. I always enjoy visiting your blog and appreciate your visits and comments here.
God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
We tend to eat in a similar fashion -- cereal and milk for breakfast, and eggs, meat and vegetables at lunch and dinner. Milk is nutritious yet easy for most who are not lactose intolerant to digest, and while we need stronger foods, they may be more difficult to assimilate. The Bible is clear that we are to consume the Word daily as our daily bread. I tend to find myself meditating on more basic salvation scriptures as I awaken, and then I am better prepared to delve into more challenging or difficult passages later in the day. Thanks as always for your thought-provoking insights and God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

I understood even before your second comment, but thanks for clarifying. :-)

shayndel said...

So many wonderful references to food and nourishment in God`s word!! I enjoyed your post and also that you love to dance for Him!! Blessings and Shalom!

Donald Fishgrab said...

Great post, Laurie.

As you pointed out, we need the sincere milk of the word, but if we mature properly, there comes a time when the milk is not enough and we need the strong meat if we are to become mature
Christians. Too often we just give people a drink of milk or a some dessert when they need strong meat.

Brenda said...

I say Amen to all you have said here Laurie. I remember when I first came to the Lord being shown that the milk of the Word was for us as babes in Christ, and then how we would grow through eating the 'strong meat'. We are forever growing as we 'eat' the God given food, whether it be milk of meat, and I love it.
As I looked at your desirable dessert I was reminded of the excess inches that are forming around my waist, and had to stop myself from opening my 'cake cupboard'. If I put on any more weight Laurie, I shall partially blame you. :-)

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Shayndel! Thanks so much for your visit and encouraging comment. Blessings to you and Shalom aleichem!

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Donald! Sadly, in many churches today, there is a tendency for preachers just to serve watered down milk of the Word, telling people what they want to hear. Praise the Lord for those preachers who are not afraid to feed their flock with meat as well as milk, and for those Christians who consume healthy portions of both.
Thanks for your comment and God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Brenda,
Sorry about the picture if it brought you closer to your cake cupboard! I'm always chastising my Facebook friends who post pictures of delectable desserts, which in my opinion is totally unfair unless they're going to pass me a slice through the screen! Praise the Lord that we can feast on the milk and meat of the Word to our heart's content and never have to worry about gaining an ounce! :-)
Love in Christ,