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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

The sovereign God’s shepherd care of his people (1 Peter 5:11)

Having referred to God’s long-term plans for his people, Peter now uses four words to detail what the Lord will do for them in this life. God will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish them. Their meanings overlap and basically say that God’s people will not only survive the trial but come through it well, stronger in the faith and equipped for future difficulties. 

The word translated ‘restore’ would have been used by fishermen for the mending of nets (Mark 1:19) and that activity indicates one aspect of what the word denotes. It means to restore after damage or bruising. Peter’s readers were going through great difficulties and would need the divine Doctor to recover them once the period of stress was over.  

The idea behind ‘confirm’ is to have something that is fixed. It is the same word that Jesus used when he told Peter that after his denial he would strengthen his brothers. Peter means that God will set firmly in place certain convictions that may have been affected to some degree by the troubles they went through. For example, their troubles may have led them to question the sovereignty of God or the care of God. The Lord would enable such to become strong in their conviction. This shepherd care of God is a reminder of his faithfulness and of how he acts in gracious ways.  

Peter closes this section by a doxology: ‘to him be the dominion forever and ever.’ The apostle is not suggesting that God could lose total dominion. Instead he is stating a fact in an ardent manner. He is delighted that God reigns. His description of divine comfort has led him to burst out in praise. He knows that the God of all grace will give him a wonderful future and therefore he states the feelings of his heart. Knowing this God keeps him humble, gives him confidence to cast his burdens on the Lord, assures him of victory over the devil, enables him to look ahead to the glory to come, and leads him to expect personal restoration when needed.  

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