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Peter is concerned with how we faithfully deal with authorities. Last week the context was
government. Next week it will apply to marriages. Sandwiched in between is how we respond in our work environment. Even if you are retired, there will be occasions to share wisdom with family members or neighbors who are in difficult work situations. The gospel really does apply to all areas of our lives.
Election years seem long with inescapable media coverage. Complex issues are reduced to sound bites and slogans. Mudslinging is common, demonizing others because it works. Peter offers us wisdom for faithfully relating to politics and government.
I imagine Peter, whose name means Rock, would have reflected on the imagery in the Psalms that describe God as a Rock. In this passage he quotes from Psalms, Isaiah (and Jesus), calling Christ a living stone and cornerstone. Through Christ, we are living stones with purpose.
Peter reflects on Psalm 34 and writes about tasting the goodness of the Lord. This poetic image helps us to see that God wants us to know and delight in Him in the deepest and most real way with all of our senses and with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.
Everything about our bodies suggests we are made for action. We want to make sure that our actions are focused correctly so that we are living as faithful disciples of Jesus. In order to do this, we need to prepare our minds and be alert and ready, because our decisions direct our actions.
In the preceding verses, Peter talks about hope that is found in God and obtains salvation for our souls. He then focuses on how salvation was revealed through the scriptures. My aim is to have us connect salvation to God’s word; honor, respect and delight in God’s word; and know, study and obey God’s word. For in scripture we see the glory of Christ and God’s offer of grace, hope and joy. It is these things into which angels long to look!
We all need hope. Without hope we do not see purpose in life and are prone to just give up. Proverbs 13:12 beautifully expresses this, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” The message of the Bible is about hope, true hope which is found in God alone. When we feel dead inside, God’s living hope offers us newness of life and sustaining joy and abounding love. The message of 1 Peter is for us to be born again to a living hope.
Today we start a series on the First Letter of Peter. Written in the mid 60’s AD, Peter addresses Christians who were displaced and being persecuted for their faith. While we don’t face such a strong opposition, our culture is changing and Christian values and morals are no longer the norm and not always welcome. In any era or any place, while on earth we are exiles or resident aliens. We are sojourners on our way to our true home. This letter speaks to us.
Near the end of Joshua’s life he assembles all Israel and its leaders. He declares on behalf of the LORD a short history of God’s faithfulness in delivering them from bondage in Egypt, providing for them in the wilderness and securing for them the Promised Land. He then puts the challenge before them to choose whom they will serve. Joshua then affirms, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” The start of a new year is an appropriate time for us to affirm that it is the LORD we choose to serve.
The Significance of Blessing: Peace
Bless- to praise, glorify, speak well of, to invoke divine care
Blessing – the act or words of the one that blesses
Forty days after Jesus’ birth, Mary, Joseph and Jesus go to the Temple for the rite of purification. There they encounter Simeon and Anna and we learn important things about blessing.