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Psalm 18:1-6; 16-19 1
1 I love you, O LORD, my strength. 2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. 4 The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 5 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. 6 In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.

16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. 17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. 18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. 19 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

clip_image068Background

The Psalms are prayers, praises and prophecies set to music. In other words they are sacred instructional songs. In Hebrew the Book of Psalms is called the Book of Praises. David was “a man after God’s own heart,” (1 Sam.13:14) not because he was perfect, or exceptionally intelligent or generous; but because he recognized and appreciated the true worth of Israel’s God Jehovah and was not ashamed to testify to this knowledge in public. David was totally won over to Yahweh’s side. His songs are a record of prayer and praise amidst the most trying circumstances. So enthusiastic was he about his Maker that he personally composed some 73 psalms! You can be certain that for the past 2500 years somewhere on earth a song by King David is sung every Sabbath day. David is the greatest song writer this world has ever seen.

Biblical Truths and Theology 2

David makes a threefold declaration:

I love you, O LORD, my strength. (verse 1)

I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. (verse 3)

For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I have not done evil by turning from my God. (verse 21)

The Lord responses:

The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. (verse 24)

Items for Discussion

  • What was David’s response to trouble or problems?
  • Why was David’s prayer successful? Or another way to put it, why does God answer some prayers like David’s and leave millions of other prayers unanswered?
    • Look at Acts 10:34-35; God has no favorites
    • Look also at Verses 20-25 for answers
    •  David obeyed God’s law
    •  David was humble before God
  •  NOTE: Success in prayer may very well come in direct proportion to the supplicant’s personal holiness. In other words, the more holy, righteous and humble a person is, the more likely prayers their prayers may be answered.
  • Why might a musical prayer show more of the true motives of the heart than a silent prayer?
  • How is one humble before God?

 

I Peter 2:9-12
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Background 3

The writer of 1 Peter is determined by itself, the claim to be “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ” in the opening sentence. This conclusion is supported further by the letters assertion that he was a “fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ” (1 Peter 5:1). Confusion in this matter comes from the use of an amanuensis 4 by the name of Silvanus (1 Peter 5:12). He calls John Mark “Mark my son” (1 Peter 5:13).

Peter and his wife moved into a large house in Capernaum. Their home was a very short walk from the beautiful Sea of Galilee. His father was named John, with whom he worked as a fisherman along with his brother Andrew. Andrew introduced Peter to Jesus. Peter was the first apostle chosen and is always named first in the lists (see Mt 10:2-4; Mk 3:16-19; Lu 6:14-16; Ac 1:13, 14). He was also one of the inner circle of three (see Mk 5:37; 17:1; Mk 9:2; Lu 8:51; 9:28).

Peter was a bold, impulsive, energetic, tender-hearted leader of men. He was first to confess his faith at Caesarea Philippi (Mt 16:16). He was quick to rebuke Christ after He foretold His crucifixion (Mt 16:22). He insisted he was willing to go to prison and death for his Lord (Luke 22:34). He spoke for the twelve apostles during the teaching on the Bread of Life (Joh 6:66-69). He cut off the ear of Malchus (John 18:10). The same night he denied His Lord. Nevertheless, he was restored and allowed to preached a sermon on Pentecost (Ac 2:14-40). Later, he raised Dorcas from the dead (see Ac 9:36-41) and subsequently to the Gentile household of Cornelius (Ac 10, 11). Although he had moments of vacillation, he had an absolute trust in Christ. He had faults to overcome but he was sharp, perceptive and quick to yield in obedience to the Lord’s will.

The NT gives very little history of him after about 50 AD. Luke’s last mention of him is in Acts 15. In that reference, we see him at Jerusalem as he stands up to recount the first conversion of Gentiles, contending that the yoke of the law should not be placed upon their necks (Ac 15:10). After the close of the book of Acts, Peter is mentioned in Scripture, sometimes as Cephas, in 1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:5; Galatians 1:18; 2:9 and 1, 2 Peter.

Biblical Truths 5

Verse 9. But you are a chosen people. In contradistinction from those who, by their disobedience, had rejected the Savior as the foundation of hope. The people of God are often represented as his chosen or elected people.

A royal priesthood. The meaning of this is, probably, that they “at once bore the dignity of kings, and the sanctity of priests.”–Doddridge. “And hath made us kings and priests unto God.” See also Isaiah 61:6: “But ye shall be named priests of the Lord; men shall call you ministers of our God.” It may be, however, that the word royal is used only to denote the dignity of the priestly office which they sustained, or that they constituted, as it were, an entire nation or kingdom of priests. They were a kingdom over which he presided, and they were all priests; so that it might be said they were a kingdom of priests–a kingdom in which all the subjects were engaged in offering sacrifice to God. The expression appears to be taken from Exodus 19:6

An holy nation. This is also taken from Exodus 19:6. The Hebrews were regarded as a nation consecrated to God; and now that they were east off or rejected for their disobedience, the same language was properly applied to the people whom God had chosen in their place –the Christian church.

A people belonging to God. They were distinguished from others, or were singular, they had been bought or redeemed. Both these things are so, but neither of them expresses the exact sense of the original. The Greek (\~laov eiv peripoihsin\~) means, “a people for a possession;” that is, as pertaining to God. They are a people which he has secured as a possession, or as his own; a people, therefore, which belong to him, and to no other.

That you may declare the praises of him. The Greek word (\~areth\~) means properly good quality, excellence of any kind. It means here the excellences of God–his goodness, his wondrous deeds, or those things which make it proper to praise him. This shows one great object for which they were redeemed. It was that they might proclaim the glory of God, and keep up the remembrance of his wondrous deeds in the earth. This is to be done

  1. by proper ascriptions of praise to him in public, family, and social worship;
  2. by being always the avowed friends of God, ready ever to vindicate his government and ways;
  3. by endeavoring to make known his excellences to all those who are ignorant of him; and
  4. by such a life as shall constantly proclaim his praise–as the sun, the moon, the stars, the hills, the streams, the flowers do, showing what God does. The consistent life of a devoted Christian is a constant setting forth of the praise of God, showing to all that the God who has made him such is worthy to be loved.

Who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Darkness is the emblem of ignorance, sin, and misery, and refers here to their condition before their conversion; light is the emblem of the opposite, and is a beautiful representation of the state of those who are brought to the knowledge of the gospel. The idea is, that the light of the gospel was such as was unusual, or not to be found elsewhere, as that excites wonder or surprise which we are not accustomed to see. The primary reference here is, undoubtedly, to those who had been heathens, and to the great change which had been produced by their having been brought to the knowledge of the truth as revealed in the gospel; and, in regard to this, no one can doubt that the one state deserved to be characterized as darkness, and the other as light. The contrast was as great as that between midnight and noonday. But what is here said is substantially correct of all who are converted, and is often as strikingly true of those who have been brought up in Christian lands, as of those who have lived among the heathen. The change in conversion is often so great and so rapid, the views and feelings are so different before and after conversion, that it seems like a sudden transition from midnight to noon. In all cases also, of true conversion, though the change may not be so striking, or apparently so sudden, there is a change of which this may be regarded as substantially an accurate description. In many cases the convert can adopt this language in all its fullness, as descriptive of his own conversion; in all cases of genuine conversion it is true that each one can say that he has been called from a state in which his mind was dark to one in which it is comparatively clear.

Verse 10. Once you were not a people. That is, who formerly were not regarded as the people of God. There is an allusion here to the passage in Hosea 2:23, “And I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.” It is, however, a mere allusion, such as one makes who uses the language of another to express his ideas, without meaning to say that both refer to the same subject. In Hosea, the passage refers evidently to the reception of one portion of the Israelites into favor after their rejection; in Peter, it refers mainly to those who had been Gentiles, and who had never been recognized as the people of God. The language of the prophet would exactly express his idea, and he therefore uses it without intending to say that this was its original application.

Had not obtained mercy. That is, who had been living unpardoned, having no knowledge of the way by which sinners might be forgiven, and no evidence that your sins were forgiven. They were then in the condition of the whole heathen world, and they had not then been acquainted with the glorious method by which God forgives iniquity.

Verse 11. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers. On the word rendered strangers, (\~paroikouv\~,) where it is rendered foreigners. It means, properly, one dwelling near, neighboring; then a by-dweller, a sojourner, one without the rights of citizenship, as distinguished from a citizen; and it means here that Christians are not properly citizens of this world, but that their citizenship is in heaven, and that they are here mere sojourners. For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven.” On the word rendered pilgrims, (\~parepidhmouv\~,) See Barnes “1 Peter 1:1”; See Barnes “Hebrews 11:13”. An Alien, properly, is one who travels to a distance from his own country to visit a holy place, or to pay his devotion to some holy object; then a traveler, a wanderer. The meaning here is, that Christians have no permanent home on earth; their citizenship is not here; they are mere sojourners, and they are passing on to their eternal home in the heavens. They should, therefore, act as become such persons; as sojourners and travelers do. They should not:

  1. regard the earth as their home.
  2. They should not seek to acquire permanent possessions here, as if they were to remain here, but should act as travelers do, who merely seek a temporary lodging, without expecting permanently to reside in a place.
  3. hey should not allow any such attachments to be formed, or arrangements to be made, as to impede their journey to their final home, as pilgrims seek only a temporary lodging, and steadily pursue their journey.

Even while engaged here in the necessary callings of life–their studies, their farming, their merchandize–their thoughts and affections should be on other things. One in a strange land thinks much of his country and home; a pilgrim, much of the land to which he goes; and even while his time and attention may be necessarily occupied by the arrangements needful for the journey, his thoughts and affections will be far away.

We should not encumber ourselves with much of this world’s goods. Many professed Christians get so many worldly things around them, that it is impossible for them to make a journey to heaven. They burden themselves as no traveler would, and they make no progress. A traveler takes along as few things as possible; and a staff is often all that a pilgrim has. We make the most rapid progress in our journey to our final home when we are least encumbered with the things of this world.

Abstain from sinful desires. Such desires and passions as the carnal appetites prompt to. See Barnes “Galatians 5:19”, seq., a sojourner in a land, or a pilgrim, does not give himself up to the indulgence of sensual appetites, or to the soft pleasures of the soul. All these would hinder his progress, and turn him off from his great design.

Which war against your soul. The meaning is, that indulgence in these things makes war against the nobler faculties of the soul; against the conscience, the understanding, the memory, the judgment, the exercise of a pure imagination. Comp. Galatians 5:17. There is not a faculty of the mind, however brilliant in itself, which will not be ultimately ruined by indulgence in the carnal propensities of our nature. The effect of intemperance on the noble faculties of the soul is well known; and alas, there are too many instances in which the light of genius, in those endowed with splendid gifts, at the bar, in the pulpit, and in the senate, is extinguished by it, to need a particular description. But there is one vice pre-eminently, which prevails all over the heathen world, and extensively in Christian lands, which more than all others, blunts the moral sense, pollutes the memory, defiles the imagination, hardens the heart, and sends a withering influence through all the faculties of the soul.

Verse 12. Live such good lives. That is, lead upright and consistent lives.

Among the pagans. The heathen by whom you are surrounded, and who will certainly observe your conduct. “That ye may walk honestly towards them that are without.” Comp. Romans 13:13.

That, though they accuse you of doing wrong. Gr., \~en w\~–in what; either referring to time, and meaning that at the very time when they speak against you in this manner they may be silenced by seeing your upright lives; or meaning in respect to which–that is, that in respect to the very matters for which they reproach you they may see by your meek and upright conduct that there is really no ground for reproach. It should be true that at the very time when the enemies of religion reproach us, they should see that we are actuated by Christian principles, and that in the very matter for which we are reproached we are conscientious and honest.

They may see your good deeds and glorify God. Gr., “which they shall closely or narrowly inspect.” The meaning is, that upon a close and narrow examination, they may see that you are actuated by upright principles, and ultimately be disposed to do you justice. It is to be remembered that the heathen were very little acquainted with the nature of Christianity; and it is known that in the early ages they charged on Christians the most abominable vices, and even accused them of practices at which human nature revolts. The meaning of Peter is, that while they charged these things on Christians, whether from ignorance or malice, they ought so to live as that a more full acquaintance with them, and a closer inspection of their conduct, would disarm their prejudices, and show that their charges were entirely unfounded. The truth taught here is, that our conduct as Christians should be such as to bear the strictest scrutiny; such that the closest examination will lead our enemies to the conviction; that we are upright and honest. This may be done by every Christian; this his religion solemnly requires him to do.

Glorify God. Honor God; that is, that they may be convinced by your conduct of the pure and holy nature of that religion which he has revealed, and be led also to love and worship him

On the day he visits us. Many different opinions have been entertained of the meaning of this phrase, some referring it to the Day of Judgment; some to times of persecution; some to the destruction of Jerusalem; and some to the time when the gospel was preached among the Gentiles, as a period when God visited them with mercy. The word visitation (\~episkoph\~,) means the act of visiting or being visited for any purpose, usually with the notion of inspecting conduct, of inflicting punishment, or of conferring favors. Comp. Matthew 25:36,43; Luke 1:68,78; 7:16; 19:44. In the sense of visiting for the purpose of punishing, the word is often used in the Septuagint for the Heb. \^HEBREW\^, (pakad,) though there is no instance in which the word is so used in the New Testament, unless it is in the verse before us. The “visitation” here referred to is undoubtedly that of God; and the reference is to some time when he would make a “visitation” to men for some purpose, and when the fact that the Gentiles had narrowly inspected the conduct of Christians would lead them to honor him. The only question is, to what visitation of that kind the apostle referred. The prevailing use of the word in the New Testament would seem to lead us to suppose that the “visitation” referred to was designed to confer favors rather than to inflict punishment, and indeed the word seems to have somewhat of a technical character, and to have been familiarly used by Christians to denote God’s coming to men to bless them; to pour out his Spirit upon them; to revive religion. This seems to me to be its meaning here; and, if so, the sense is, that when God appeared among men to accompany the preaching of the gospel with saving power, the result of the observed conduct of Christians would be to lead those around them to honor him by giving up their hearts to him; that is, their consistent lives would be the means of the revival and extension of true religion.

Items for Discussion

  • Why is it so hard to think and talk about the end times?
  • Do people believe there will be end times?
  • What is wrong with too much focus on the end times?
  • What is the message of Christ and our God about what our focus should be on?
  • What is the roll of the church in removing concerns but preparing people?
  • How do we as believers live in an imperfect world, have a positive effect on it but not let it negatively affect us?

Discussion Challenge

  • Paul’s sermon title is interesting. What does Peek-a-boo mean and how might this relate to our lesson today?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. Matthew Henry’s Commentaries
  3. From Wikipedia
  4. One who is employed to take dictation or to copy manuscript
  5. Barnes’ Notes
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