Theme: God Will Establish, Strengthen, and Settle You
This week’s lessons encourage us with the truth that because God always finishes what he begins, every true believer will receive God’s eternal glory in Christ.
Scripture: 1 Peter 5:10
Yesterday we looked at the first of God’s promises from our text. Today we look at the other three.
God will establish you. The idea conveyed by this verb is to be established in a firm, defensive position so that the attacks of the devil will not dislodge the Christian from it. The one who is established will be able to hold his or her ground.
If you and I have any understanding of ourselves, we must at times worry greatly about being dislodged from where God has placed us. We know how weak we are and how fierce an antagonist Satan is. What if Satan should attack our home? Can my husband and I really hold it together? What if he attacks our children? Our marriage itself? Suppose I lose my job? Or my health? What about my Christian witness? Suppose the people I work with ostracize me because of my Christian faith, make fun of me, shut me out of office confidences, or pass over me for promotions? Will I really be able to stand firm under such pressures? Or will I be ashamed of Jesus and disgrace him by refusing to speak up for him or by compromising what I stand for? What if I should even deny him, as Peter did?
Those fears are not groundless, because we know that Christian homes sometimes are broken up, that Christians often fail to stand for Christ, and that others do occasionally deny him. In the midst of our fears this text comes as a great promise: “God will establish you.” He will keep you in just such pressured situations. And if, in accord with his own wise counsel, he should allow you to stumble for a time and fall, you can know that Jesus has nevertheless prayed for you and that your fall will not be permanent. In fact, when it is past you will be stronger than you were before and you will be able to use your experience of the grace of God to help others.
God will strengthen you. The previous promise, that “God will establish you,” had to do with holding one’s ground. That is, it concerned a defensive stand. This promise goes further, and it concerns an offensive action. It says that God will “strengthen” us to resist Satan, which is exactly what Peter told us to do in the previous verse: “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (v. 9). We cannot resist Satan in our own strength, but we can if God strengthens us.
God will settle you. The last of these four promises is that God will “settle” us. The word means “to be made to rest securely,” like a strong building on a sure foundation. It is important for this reason. The purpose of the attacks of Satan is to dislodge us from our foundation, which is Jesus Christ. He will do that if he can. God’s purpose is to settle us in or on Jesus, and God has arranged things so that the attacks of Satan, rather than unsettling us, actually serve to bond us to that foundation even more firmly than before. That is why Paul told the Romans, “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Rom. 5:3, 4).
That happened to Peter himself, of course. Before he was tempted by Satan, Peter thought he was secure, but he was not because he was trusting in himself. After he had been tempted, he knew that he could never prevail against Satan in his own strength and therefore stayed close to Jesus. It was from that proximity to Jesus and by resting on that foundation that Peter was able to strengthen his brethren in like situations, which is what Jesus said he would do and what he is actually doing here.
We have a natural tendency to rely upon ourselves. But God has arranged even the assaults of Satan so that we will be weaned away from self-reliance to trust God instead. Few experiences in life are more useful in settling us on the only sure foundation than the temptations and sufferings that come to us from Satan.
What else does our passage tell us God will do? What does each verb mean?
In what ways does the world try to work against these four promises God has given to us?
Application: What temptations does Satan use to try to turn you away from your confession and commitment to Christ? What can you do both to minimize those times of temptation, and to prevail over those that come?