"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More Privileged Than Prophets & Angels?

1 Peter 1:1-12 (9/22/11)
The first twelve verses of 1 Peter 1 is an amazingly rich passage on which we could literally spend hours breaking down.  Peter provides a doxology, a greeting, a doctrine, and a message of faith and hope.  These opening words to Peter’s first Epistle allow us to examine the history of the early church and that of Emperor Nero.  But most of all, I am struck by the realization that these early believers, to whom Peter was addressing this letter, were provided a message on their privileged condition that is just as applicable to Christians today, despite what seemed to be a very unprivileged situation.

For all the torture, persecution and hardships that these followers endured, Peter makes clear that they / we have much more than even the early prophets or the angels when it comes to cause for joy and certainty of salvation.  In verses 10 - 11, Peter speaks of the prophet’s search for those things that were to come.  Consider that these men of God often did not understand their own message of the coming Messiah, or the way for which God’s glory would be revealed.  Even still they spoke as God led them in order that prophecy itself would be revealed.  But unlike the prophets, we are provided testimony, fulfilled prophesy and the Holy Spirit’s assurance of such things. It’s almost as if the great prophets would look to us and say, “You are so fortunate, we had no idea. Why do you not understand the joy and blessing that comes from being on this side of the cross?”

Then there is verse 12 (my favorite). In the same way that the prophets did not comprehend how God would work, or of the relationship that would be possible with the coming Messiah, the angels also inquired and longed to know God’s plan.  The Message puts verse 12b this way, “Angels would have given anything to be in on this!”  In fact, the word for long (longing), as in the NIV, is the word for stooping down for a closer look, or stretching and straining to see better.  Can you picture angels doing all that they can to peer down, just for a chance to understand God’s plan for securing our inheritance.  They were there at His birth and with Him in the Garden before His death.  Yet, they so longed to know how He would ultimately bring hope to a dying world.

The bottom line is that too often we forget the privilege that we have been given through scripture and through a relationship with Christ.  When we consider this knowledge a blessing, we are more apt to find real joy and endure greater struggles.  In fact, a realization of Peter’s message should probably leave us in a state of awe. Perhaps we will find that state together as we dig deeper in God’s Word via Peter’s letters.

Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.     1 Peter 1:10-12

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