November 28

1 Peter 5

After Peter speaks of suffering, dying to self, and fiery trials from chapter 4, he begins chapter 5 addressing pastors. In verse 1, Peter identifies himself as a pastor, sharing in the sufferings a spiritual leader will experience. Only a true pastor can understand the sufferings of a pastor’s heart. You may think you can look in from the outside and understand, but you cannot feel the weight of responsibilities pastor carry for those that have been entrusted to them, often enduring through the difficulties of spiritual and natural care. There is a dying to self for the pastor that genuinely serves people. It’s not about entertaining people so they feel pumped up, or just doing good things for the community so we can feel good about ourselves. A true pastor will see the next step in someone’s spiritual development and lead them there. A true pastor sees where our spiritual enemy has someone bound, and ministers truth and the anointing to see them set free. A true pastor will see how a person needs corrected and try to lead them into a better way. Like a parent, a pastor would give his or her life for their church, and yes, that church will need to be guarded and defended against people who sin, slander, and have selfish ambitions. If you are a pastor, Peter encourages us to serve willingly, not out of compulsion. He encourages us to be motivated by a zeal for God and not to allow our motive to shift to dishonest gain. Hallelujah, and went the Chief Shepherd appears, we will receive an everlasting crown of glory!

If you are not a pastor, then you make up the majority of the church, the congregation. If the pastor is compared to a parent, then you compared to the spiritual child, but that doesn’t mean you are childish. If a pastor is likened to a shepherd, then you are likened to a sheep, but that doesn’t mean you are a simple wanderer. These illustrations are for position in God’s family, God’s local churches. It is illustrative of authority and responsibility. It is not for someone in a subordinate position to tell someone in an authority position what to do or how to do it. It is not for a child to tell a father how to run his house, to criticize his leadership, what decisions he should make, or how he should run his finances. Why? Because the child has never parented. Have you ever had a teenager that thought they knew more than you, but have never had the responsibility of running a home? Even if you try to teach the teenager, you know he or she will never fully comprehend that position until he or she is in that position himself or herself. They don’t know about the hours you spent praying for direction from God. They don’t know the love behind the correction they had to administer because they can’t bear to see you go down a wrong path. They don’t the hurt that is felt when you hurt or the joys that is felt when you do well. They don’t see what you see, wondering why mom or dad is trying to teach a lesson so you will grow. So as a church member, show honor to your pastor. When the pastor teaches, listen and learn. When the pastor asks for help, offer to serve. When the pastor shares an opportunity to support missions or outreach, give. If a decision needs to be made, pray your leader will make the right one. If another person rebels or slanders your pastor or church, don’t blame your pastor for someone’s bad behavior. If you desire to help and make suggestions, do so with humility, understanding that you don’t have the oversight or heart that the pastor carries. There is also a dying to self when some submits, surrenders, supports, and serves. The heart of a church member that comes to an end of themselves is also a place under an open heaven. The anointing will increase on your life, you minister to others, you will receive more revelation, you will have answered prayers, and you will attract blessing.

In verse 5, Peter continues along the same vein, instructing younger people to respect those who are older than them. It actually means those of lesser rank should be subject to the ministers and spiritual guides of the church. The Amplified says, “… clothe (apron) yourselves, all of you, with humility [as the garb of a servant, so that its covering cannot possibly be stripped from you, with freedom from pride and arrogance] toward one another.” I think of an apron tied and knotted in the back, someone who is determined to stay faithful and submitted to their pastor. Wow.

In verse 5, Peter quotes Proverbs 3:34 (also quoted by James in James 4:6), saying, ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” In the Amplified, it means, “For God SETS HIMSELF AGAINST the proud (the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful) – [and He OPPOSES, FRUSTRATES, AND DEFEATS THEM], but gives grace (favor, blessing) to the humble.” Wow.

Then look at this familiar verse, verse 7, that we often pull out of context, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” We also love verse 8 about how the enemy is out to devour us. BUT IN CONTEXT, these verses are about suffering and submission. When you suffer, cast your cares on the Lord. When you submit, resist the enemy (similar to James 4:7 submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you). Submission to God and to the proper authority will cause FREEDOM from the enemy. Rebellion draws the enemy. A proud, superior attitude attracts the devil.

In verse 10 Peter says, “and after you have suffered awhile…” there is a blessing attached… “God… will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you.” Wow.

Blessings are ahead of us if we live in humility and surrender to God and submit to earthly authority. Praise God!

Ezekiel 40

Ezekiel 40 begins a very detailed and specific description of a future temple. This is a millennial temple during Jesus’ one thousand year reign. According to many scholars, this is a memorial temple that will serve as a teaching center to instruct about the holiness of God and worship of God. As sinful men and women continue to be born into the world during the millennium, this temple is to remind everyone of the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross.

This temple will be built on a new temple mount. After all the fighting over this location, God takes it by force. There will be a great earthquake that will split Jerusalem into three parts, and a river will flow to the east and west. The earthquake will level mountains and raise valleys. See Isaiah 40:1-5 (Luke 3:5), Ezekiel 38:18-22, Revelation 16:17-21, and Zechariah 14:2-10.

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