Todays readings.. Judges 9, Isaiah 35, 1 Peter 1
“BORN AGAIN TO A LIVING HOPE”
What a total contrast there is between our readings in Judges ch. 9 and all the conflict and resultant deaths it describes – caused by Abimelech – and the “living hope” of which Peter writes at the start of his First Epistle. The spirit that Abimelech created all around him has considerable comparison with life around nearly all the world today.
Peter addresses his letter to the “exiles of the dispersion” – this would be the Jewish dispersion – and, of course, written to “those who are elect.” [1 v.1] “Elect” is an significant word – we do not use it in normal conversations, although with elections looming here, there will soon be lots of comment about those who are ‘elected.’ But whoever is elected, not one of them can give us, “a living hope” [v.3]
The world can only provide ‘a dead hope’ – which is no hope at all! This life is all there is, and how short may this become as the human ‘pathway’ appears to be going more steeply downhill into utter godlessness!
Remember what we read yesterday in James 5 v.1,5,9 “…weep and howl for the miseries that are coming … You have lived … in luxury and in self-indulgence… the Judge is standing at the door.” Very few years after James wrote this, the nation came to an end – and Jerusalem was destroyed.
In contrast Peter tells his readers, the believers, that God “has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable.” [v.4] Peter then says this “inheritance” is “kept in heaven for you … ready to be revealed in the last time.” [v.5]
Those who read the scriptures carefully know that genuine believers do not go to heaven to receive it. The last chapter in Bible (v.22) says, “”Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.” The “recompense” or reward, is given to believers “on earth.” Jesus taught “”Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” [Matt. 5 v.5] Let us make sure we have been “born again to a living hope“ – a spiritual rebirth, which we outwardly witnessed by our baptism.
They showed this on the day of Pentecost when they were “cut to the heart” at the preaching of Peter, (Acts 2 v.37) and “said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And so they went down into the water and were “born again to a living hope”
There are increasing signs that the coming of Jesus is close – and then he will “repay each one for what he has done.” All those who have been “born again to a living hope” followed by a life of commitment in service to Christ will have prayerful confidence as what their reward will be.