Covered: 1 Samuel, 17-22, 24, 28, 31; Psalm 22
Not Covered: 1 Samuel 23, 25-27, 29-30; Psalms 7,11,17, 27,31,34-35,52,54,56,59,63,120
Scripture Memory: His Peace – Isaiah 26:3; 1 Peter 5:7
Our reading for this week is intense! In 1 Samuel we get to read about David’s battle with the giant Goliath, Saul attempting to kill David (multiple times…insert eye roll), David cutting a part of Saul’s robe in an awkward cave/bathroom encounter, Saul at the witch of Endor, and ultimately Saul’s death. In Psalm 22 we read a Messianic psalm that points us to the suffering that Jesus would endure on the cross, reminding us of the great sacrifice of the cross; a very timely passage since we are celebrating Good Friday and Easter Sunday this week.
As fun as all of those passages would be to walk through, I want us to focus on one of our memory verses this week (1 Peter 5:7) because whether we realize it or not, all of us deeply and innately desire peace. Unless of course, you’re Sandra Bullock on Miss Congeniality.
Our memory verse for this week contains the words of the Apostle Peter. A man that we often see as heroic – first leader of the church, in Jesus’ inner circle, proficient with a sword (John 18:10), preacher at the day of Pentecost where 3,000 were saved, etc. But when we look a little deeper into Peter’s life, we see that he had a lot of baggage and anxiety (and no, I am not referring to his mother-in-law!). He is more than qualified to talk about casting our anxieties on Jesus.
If you remember on the night that Jesus was arrested, the Apostle Peter snuck in behind the officers and crowd that arrested Jesus. When they took Jesus into court to stand trial, Peter stood outside by a fire where he could listen in to what was going on. (Matthew 26:69-75) Well as he was sitting there, a servant girl came up to him and basically said, “You were with Jesus too! You’re just as guilty as he is! You’re one of them!” Peter blurts out in front of everyone something to the extent of, “I don’t know what you’re talking about little girl! Why don’t you go back to your mama or play with dolls!” After saying this Peter moves to the outer gate of the courtyard where he could hide his face a little better in the shadows. As he gets situated at his new spot, another lady comes up to him with comments that could have been something like, “This man was with Jesus! This one right here in the corner with the scraggly beard and fisherman’s jacket! He was with Jesus!” Again, Peter denies it. Then just for good measure, another group approaches Peter with statements such as, “You are definitely one of them! You are certainly one of the ones following Jesus! We can tell because even your accent gives you away! You talk funny! We know you were with him!” With that Peter could have started to swear and curse, “I DO NOT KNOW THE MAN! I blankety blank swear I don’t know the man! I DO NOT KNOW THE MAN!” As soon as Peter finished speaking a rooster crowed. Reminding Peter of the words Jesus had told him a few days earlier – that he would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed. Peter had baggage. He had fear. He had shame. He had a dirty mouth. He denied ever knowing his best friend and Savior for crying out loud!
But what we see in the story of Peter is that having baggage and issues didn’t disqualify Peter from following Jesus or ultimately for being useful for the kingdom, actually quite the opposite. God can and will use all of our baggage for His glory and for our growth. Just like in Peter’s life, God will receive the glory, and we will receive peace and see our faith grow.
So, the question is – what allowed Peter to move past his baggage, past his shortcomings, past his anxiety, and embrace the peace of God in his life allowing God to receive the glory and his faith to grow?
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)
Peter wants us to see the way we move past our anxieties, fears, shame, etc. is we cast it onto God. We were not and are not made to carry all the weight that these bring in our life.
So, what exactly does it mean to “cast” it onto God? I mean Peter is a fisherman, so is he talking about rods and reels or a net here? Not exactly. The word here in the original language literally means to throw off, and when used with this preposition in the verse it means to completely unload and make the one receiving responsible for the burden.
Peter is showing us what we currently carry is not ours to carry. This is why Jesus came to earth! This is what Psalm 22 describes in our reading this week. Jesus came to remove the weight of sin, shame, guilt, anxiety, etc. and replace it with peace. All of our baggage already has His name on the tag; we simply have to cast it off of ourselves and onto Him. What we see in Peter’s story, is that when he did this in his life, God used him in extraordinary ways to further the Gospel. Imagine what is right around the corner if you will cast your baggage on Jesus.
This week, take time to cast your fear, anxiety, guilt, worry, and shame onto Him. It’s why He came. I don’t remember where I heard this quote, but it has always stuck with me – “When life feels messed up, don’t give up. Look up, and God will show up.”
Written by: Andrew Bates
Photo Credit: Paul Gilmore