August 20, 2018
1 Peter 1:6… In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith… more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire… may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Peter wrote this letter to 5 Roman provinces: Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. (Verse 1) It seems likely that it was written during the reign of Nero (54 -68 A.D.). He was one of the most evil leaders in the Roman empire. In history books, he is credited with starting the great fire that burned much of Rome, but he blamed the Christians for the fire and had many of them killed in lion fights at the coliseum. The “testing-by-fire” that Peter mentions was likely two fold. There may have been direct challenges to people’s well being; but there was the further challenge to people that were loved. In our day, it might have been something like… “Today, we will feed Billy Graham to the lions. Come and watch.” It would be hard to handle the killing of someone we admired. One great challenge would be to continue trusting God after such an event. Peter reminds the people, and us, that such testing is to refine our faith. Genuine faith is unwavering in the face of negativity.
We are facing much negativity right now in our country. Years ago, there was a battle cry, “For God and country.” When I was young, I believed that the United States was God’s country. When I was older and began to love the world as I should, I realized that God was more Jewish than American and that He might not speak English as His first language. I quit thinking of America as God’s country. But as I continued to age, I have been challenged by the reality that God is all things to all people. To English speaking people, He speaks English. But, lately, I have been challenged about my country. To some cultures in the world, the United Stated is a travesty. It has been called “evil.”
Take a stand, not for your country, but for good. When the two are together, rejoice. Sometimes our country stands for what is good. Rejoice when that happens but don’t look to our country to make things right. God, only, is good. Our faith is in God, not in Obama or Trump. Sorry, right wingers.