6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 5:6-11
Power of God
To be humble is one thing, but this scripture explains explicitly to humble ourselves under the might hand of God. Each of us probably has a vision or idea what the hand of God is, but there is direct references in the bible for God’s arm as well as hand. The arm or hand in this case signifies His strength.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
Luke 1:50-53 ESV
There is another great story we can read and get encouragement about being obedient and relates to the arm/hand of God.
In the Old Testament, when the Israelites were tired of eating manna, Moses interceded for the people. They cried,
“who will give us meat to eat?” – Numbers 11:4 NASB
Moses wept before the Lord and begged Him to provide meat for the people to eat, and God said
19 You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, 20 but a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you; because you have rejected the Lord who is among you – Numbers 11:19-20 NASB
Moses was scared, and I would be too. What you think if you interceded for someone and the God said alright, hold on; I will provide; You say they need some meat? I’ll give some meat, not just one day but for a whole month, to a point where it will be coming out of your nose. You have to admit, if you had God telling you that, you would have to stop and ponder “what did I just ask him?” Much like us when we here the voice of God we don’t always understand and we turn on the investigator mode and start to question and clarify to God to make sure he knows what we are talking about. The story continues at Moses begins to clarify his request:
21 But Moses said, “The people among whom I am number six hundred thousand on foot, and you have said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat a whole month!’ 22 Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, and be enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, and be enough for them?” – Numbers 11:21-22 ESV
Then the Lord responds:
23 And the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.” – Numbers 11:23 ESV
Just like Moses, we are told to submit and obey, but notice the Lord did not tell him the hour. Moses got to wait and wonder. Obedience means submitting to the arm of the Lord, acknowledging Him as Lord and acknowledging His external and everlasting authority to require of us whatever is pleasing to Him. When we do so, He will exalt us in due time. The exaltation will come at the hours that God has appointed. We are told repeatedly in scripture that God indeed has appointed a time when He will judge the world by His son, a time when He will vindicate His people, a time when He will share the glory of His Son with those who have embraced His son.
Cast away those troubles
7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7
Many readers can easily connect this scripture to Peter’s profession, fishing. The basic idea many think of is casting as in a fishing pole, but that is not how these conversations would play out. Let us remember that when we read about the boys fishing, we are not told of fishing poles, but nets. They were doing what is referred to as surf-fishing. The nets were big like the sheets on your bed or a floor rug. The nets would have heavy weights on them to sink fast and trap fish.
So when Peter says cast all your anxieties, he was talking about the direct things that are weighting us down. To take our burdens and throw them onto Jesus. He will gladly take them, because he cares for us.
Be sober-minded; be watchful,Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8
The sobriety Peter has in mind here is simply not being free from drunkenness, but to be awake and alert. The reason for that warning is that there is an enemy, our adversary, the Devil. I know first hand that when I was intoxicated in the past, I had no concept of fear or risk It was a very dangerous situation. Peter is telling these guys to be ready, persecution is coming and opposition is only going to get worse. Life in this world does not become complicated until we become Christians.
Can you recall some life events and challenges before becoming a Christian compared to those afterwards. Have you had more or less situations after committing your life to Christ?
The bible generally uses the metaphor of a lion to represent the line of the tribe of Judah, but here Peter uses the reference to refer to the enemy. Most illustrations that are most common for Satan is a serpent, snake. Satan is associated with lies, seduction and accusations. I don’t know about you, but I don’t envision a lion as a liar and accuser.
Also in Genesis 49 it illustrates that Judah received a benediction from his father, Jacob that a lion will come. The descendents of the tribe of Judah looked forward to the full manifestation of the lion that would come from the seed of David, the Lion of Judah, the title given to Jesus. Here Peter uses the illustration for Satan.
Peter uses the metaphor to describe a supreme opponent, the one who stands against us and seeks our ruin. So often, we think that the principal role of Satan is to entice or tempt us to sin. Indeed, he does that, but even more devastating is his role of accuser.
Can you share a time when the enemy came in and accused you? Was it easier to defend yourself when you were being accused or tempted?
Accusations and Convictions
Satan does not simply slander us, though he does that and will often accuse us of things for which we are not guilty. How can we tell the difference between the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who is sent to convict us of our sins, and the work of Satan, who comes to accuse us of our sins? Both point to the same sin but for radically different reasons. When Satan accuses us of sin, it is to ruin us, to cripple and destroy. When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, it is to redeem and cleanse us. Being convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit can be an exceedingly painful process, and true repentance can be painful, but there is always something sweet about it. When the Spirit convicts us, and we recognize it, He takes us to the Savior for forgiveness, not destruction. Satan’s goal is not our redemption but our ruin. He is our adversary, and he “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).
Peter knew first hand about the power of Satan. He was reminded often of how he underestimated the power of Satan. When we reflect back on the Last Supper with Jesus, Peter underestimates the power of Satan. Jesus told the men that one among them would betray Him. They went around the room asking if it was them, do you remember what Jesus told Peter?
31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” – Luke 22:31-32 ESV
In this epistle, Peter is walking out the words of Christ. Christ told him face to face, “strengthen your brothers”, and we are reading through Peter’s attempt to do just that.
An interesting thing I have learned studying through the epistle of 1 Peter is that God addresses Peter as Simon every time he wants to talk to his old nature. Just like this scripture, Peter was already renamed, but when God wants to get his attention, he calls him by his old name, Simon” We all know the story of how Satan over came Simon and his flesh shriveled as he denied Christ publicly three times.
We are no match
We must remember that Satan will ultimately receive what is due to him, but we are not more powerful that Satan by ourselves. The bible has many reminders:
7Resist the devil and he will flee from you – James 4:7
4He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world – 1 John 4:4
We are no match for Satan, if we attempt to take Satan on alone, it is like a little gazelle and powerful lion. It is no match. Now the key is that when we are equipped with the whole armor of God, Satan is no match for us. This stalking, roaring, threatening lion will flee with his tail between his legs.
Do not be deceived
If we are going to be sober and vigilant about the wiles of the Devil, we must be aware of how he is described elsewhere in Scripture. Satan does not appear like a roaring lion or a sneaky snake; he manifests himself as an angel of light. He masks his evil with counterfeit good, which is why he is deceptive. No sin can ever bring us happiness, but sin can bring us pleasure. The Devil comes as an angel of light and promises us pleasure in sin so that we begin to think that what God forbids is not only allowable but good.
Solid Foundation is essential
9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. – 1 Peter 5:9
This text can be interpreted many ways, some say we resist the devil by faith, which is valid, but I feel it is even more. Specifically, I think Peter meant that we need to resist the devil by being rooted in the content of scripture, Christian faith. Doctrine has to do with God’s revealed truth, and those who master the doctrine of the Word of God have a solid foundation by which they are empowered to resist the devouring enemy.
Remember, if we are to be able to determine the different of conviction from the Holy Spirit and accusations of the enemy, we need to know the truth, but that is what sets us free.
Peter also tells these readers that they are not alone. That they are not the only ones suffering. I know some of the most encouragement I can receive is that I am not alone.
God of all Grace
10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. – 1 Peter 5:10 ESV
Every good thing we experience comes to us from the benevolent hand of God. We live by grace alone. We move from faith to faith, life to life, and grace to grace, and God is the author of all of these graces. He is not just the God of grace or just a gracious God, but He is the God of all grace. God’s eternal glory, which is in Him alone from all eternity, He will not share with any man. Nevertheless, by His grace He has called us to participate in it. The only one who can perfect us is God. The only one who is able to establish us is God. The only one who can give us abiding strength is God. The only one who can settle us is God.
Augustine said, “Almighty God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.” Augustine was saying that the human spirit remains perpetually unsettled. As long as we are estranged from God, who made us for Himself, we cannot possibly be settled in our spirits. To be settled is an act of divine grace, so Peter’s plea is that God would settle us. Then Peter gives a benediction:
11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 5:11 ESV
Sproul, R. C. (2011-03-08). 1-2 Peter (St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary) . Crossway. Kindle Edition.