Proverbs 27:17

Proverbs 27:17

Sunday, May 26, 2024

1 Peter 2:9 (Daily Verse and Comment)

  1 Peter 2:9

(9) But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; 
King James Version   Change your email Bible version

Peter refers to the church by several descriptors, including “a royal priesthood” and “a holy nation.” Consider the latter for a moment. God's holy nation stands in contrast to the nations of our birth. As called children of God, we are not entirely removed from our birth nations, even as Paul calls Judah “my nation” (Acts 24:1728:19; see Acts 26:4Galatians 1:14).

But the spiritual, holy nation carries far more significance than our physical nations. The holy nation stands in a privileged state before the Most High God, and He bestows far greater favor on His spiritual nation than on the physical nations that oppose Him. Though He sends rain on the just and the unjust, He also acts to benefit those who are in Christ in ways that He does not act for those in the world. The heavenly citizenship we have because God conveyed us into Christ's Kingdom is one of the most precious gifts He has given. If we truly value it, we will prioritize the holy nation and its peace far above our opinions of what is happening in our birth nations.

However, because we still have connections to our physical nations, we have concerns about their well-being and direction. Thus, Paul says we should make supplications, prayers, and intercessions for kings and all who are in authority (I Timothy 2:1-2). Admittedly, our human nature may resist his advice, depending on who is in power. But the reason for those prayers, the apostle says, is so that “we [the holy nation] may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”

We can combine his instruction with the reality to which God opened Solomon's eyes: “The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1). Although God has not yet established His Kingdom on earth, He is still sovereign, and He intervenes to direct events according to His purpose. We should pray for the authorities because God can work through them to provide us with a peaceful environment.

Interestingly, Paul does not say to pray about who will be in authority but that we pray for whoever is in authority. God can easily direct any king's heart to do things for His holy nation. God stirred the heart of Cyrus, a pagan king, to command the exiled Jews to return to Judea and rebuild the Temple (II Chronicles 36:22Ezra 1:1). His sovereign dominion includes even the most carnal of those in authority. But His focus is the apple of His eye, and He wants us to bring our concerns to Him in prayers of faith and not draw back in fear of what men can do.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego feared God more than the Babylonian government, and God responded to their faith by standing with them in the furnace, defying the heat and smoke. Daniel feared God more than the laws of Medo-Persia, and God responded to his faith by closing the lions' mouths until they could devour the schemers. The machinations of mere men mean less than nothing to Him. Instead, He wants to see whether we trust Him.

Before Cyrus, God raised another pagan king, Nebuchadnezzar, to chasten His people, yet He also humbled him when his pride reached a tipping point. God says He did that “in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men” (Daniel 4:17). In another striking example of God's power over human hearts, He transformed the worst human persecutor of the early church—Saul of Tarsus—into the church's most prominent advocate and supporter. Is anything too hard for God?

God also inspired Solomon to write that “when a man's ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7). This proverb teaches us to pay more attention to our own ways than to the actions of those who oppose our way of life because God determines how and even if their opposition affects us.

— David C. Grabbe

No comments:

Post a Comment