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11 Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. 12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil. ~ 1 Peter 3:11-12
Today, we continue in our study of 1 Peter 3 where the Apostle Peter is giving us strategies from God which will enable us to know intimacy with Him even though we might be going through the worst of times. These two verses come from Psalm 34 where David is so grateful for God's goodness that he invokes others to join him in witnessing and tasting God's abundant love.
In v.11 of today's passage we read, "Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it."
In our last study the Apostle Peter urged us to resist retaliation upon those who inflict their evil on us. And, if we do this, we will increasingly experience the very life of God in and through our lives. We can only do this if we turn away from evil. Now, the verb here, "turn away," means to reject. It's a compound verb which has an intensity about it. It is a positive rejection of what is sinful in the treatment of others. We are to turn away from that, even our persecutors.
Then the Apostle admonishes us to "search for peace." The word "search" here is the strongest form of seeking in the Greek language. This word is better translated "hunt." And, the word "peace" is another intense word that means "tranquility." It means a constant condition of tranquility which produces permanent joy. This is to be the nature of our living. This admonition literally reads, "Let him hunt with all his might tranquil unity that results in permanent joy."
In v.12 of today's passage we read, "The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil."
That phrase, "The eyes of the Lord" is a very common Old Testament phrase and it always relates to God's watchfulness over His people for whom He has special concern. The idea is that of God's omniscience and the fact that He is aware of every detail of our lives. God watches us so that He might answer our prayers. The word for prayer here means petition for our needs. Peter is saying choose the way of God's life and our prayer life will soar and we will grow in deep intimacy with Him as we walk with Him daily. This will also result in not being hindered in our walk with the Lord because it is obvious that it is the flesh that stunts us the most in our walk with Him.
When we embrace any form of evil, it is then that "the face of the Lord" is "against" us. When God becomes angry, the Bible always focuses on His face. In Genesis 19:13 we learn regarding Lot and Sodom, "We are about to destroy this place because their outcry has become so great before the face of the Lord." We see this also in Lamentations 4:16 which reads, "The face of the Lord scattered them." This means God sees the wicked with an angry face.
Disobedience to God's commands brings the anger of God against those who refuse to be defined by Him. In Leviticus 20:3 we read, "I will also set My face against that man and will cut him off from among his people because he has given some of his offspring to Molech, the false god, so as to defile My sanctuary and profane My holy name."
God sets His face in condemning fashion against those who reject His truth. In Revelation 6:16 we read, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb." During the days of the Tribulation, after the sixth seal is opened there will be a great earthquake, the sun will turn black, the moon will turn blood red, the stars will fall out of the sky, the heavens will recede like a scroll, and every mountain and island will be removed from its place. In that moment fear will grip all the unsaved upon the earth, and they will cry out for the mountains to fall on their face.
This proves that the mind does something interesting when we experience fear. The brain tries to find the quickest way out of the discomfort. But, the problem is the unsaved on the earth at the end will not be able to escape their court date with the truth. The truth is we were all conceived sinful. And, as a result the penalty for that which separated us from all that is true and good must be paid or we will pay the penalty for our sinfulness for eternity.
In the end, no one will be able to hide from God. No one will escape the horror of the inequity of their sinfulness. No one will be able to capitalize on race or status. And, all who had not received the free payment for their sinful condition will experience such terror as described in today's text. This will happen because they refused to believe in the Lord Jesus and receive His free gift of forgiveness.
Deceived totally by the devil, the unsaved will reach a point where they will not be able to believe. They will be defined by unbiblical fear to the point that they will be driven away from all that is true and good. They will sadly feel at home with isolated darkness, but, darkness is not a place anyone would consider home. Isolated, and all alone, there will be no one present with the unsaved in eternity. This aloneness will not warrant relationship with anyone, and they will experience an eternity of the closing in of the madness. This is where unbiblical fear leads.
When we resist the flesh, we resist the way that leads to destruction. And, when we love on those who treat us badly, we are possibly going to be those who will be a part of God's rescue of their lives. Who knows, when we get to heaven we may even meet those who treated us badly here on earth and they will say that our response to them made a difference in them coming to the Lord.