In January, I asked, will 2022 be a good year for you? We usually compare our good days to our bad days to decide. But that’s not how God works or sees us. He wants us to have good days with him, blessed days. So, now I’m asking, what is your definition of a good day? Is it the lack of interruptions or disruptions? Maybe no worries or anxieties, having your family close by, time with friends, or success at work? The other day our Retirement staff hired a coffee truck for us to have free drinks. I planned to leave my apartment briefly, take GG, go to the truck, and return to continue my Bible studies. But we had to wait. I spent about thirty minutes visiting with my neighbors, who were also enjoying GG. I don’t often see some neighbors, the morning people, except very early if we meet, walking outside. The coffee was delicious. It seems like every day lately, the Lord’s been tweaking my plans. I am beginning to look forward to what he might have in store for me, rather than fear “interruptions.” After seventeen devotions, I am beginning to understand more about what it means to live the good life of being blessed. Every morning I need to spend time in God’s Word to adjust my thinking about life. I don’t study only to prepare; I meditate and investigate to be transformed from the person I am when I wake up in a fallen world—tempted to complain about waiting in line for a delicious coffee. So last week, when the HVAC unit for my apartment burned out, I used the opportunity to help GG learn to be calm around visitors to our apartment. Our maintenance staff provided a portable air conditioner. Then on “coffee truck day,” they came back to repair the HVAC and take care of another item needing fixing—one that needed hours of attention in the apartment. Instead of seeing it all as an inconvenience, I was thankful—the night before, I prayed for both things to be fixed. I’m blessed not only by these provisions. The biggest blessing is knowing that the Lord is in charge of my life and has good plans for me. When my little plans have been diverted, the Lord has shown me how blessed I am. Hopefully, these lessons will impact my future days when life doesn’t seem so good. When we’re walking with the Lord, trying our best to be obedient, and yield to his will, he blesses us with peace, thankfulness, and goodness. And, because we are eternally blessed in Christ, we will strive to bless others, turn away from evil, do good, seek peace and pray.
A Different Kind of “Good” Life
“If we live by God’s standards, we will never quite fit into any human culture. This was true in the empire, where the Christians’ allegiance to Jesus as Lord and refusal to worship the [Roman] emperor could be taken as a sign of dissent. Today, there is always a moral cause, often involving sexual ethics, in which evangelical Christians take the minority view. To the secularist, the Christian position might sound judgmental, intolerant, or bigoted, so we court disfavor…1 Peter 3:8-13 states the norm. A good life allows peace. Whatever we may say about life in an alien culture, under hostile authorities, the greater part of the Christian life concerns the character and disciplines that shape daily actions and our universal responsibilities. So Peter describes the virtues that bless everyone: harmony, sympathy, love, compassion, and humility.” (1) Daniel Doriani is commenting on this passage: “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. ‘Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.'” (1 Peter 3:9-12) “What Peter calls ‘good days’ is roughly what we call happiness. Social scientists have studied happiness for years and have reached consistent conclusions. The poor are generally less happy, but once someone escapes poverty, his or her wealth, career success, and individual liberty add little to happiness. Arduous and constructive challenges are important, but ‘the daily activities most associated with happiness are all social’ things such as a strong marriage and time spent with friends.” (2) Most of us will agree that our best “good” days include conversations with those closest to us— who enjoy speaking about God’s goodness, praying together, giving and seeking guidance and encouragement, and celebrating milestones in our lives. If our days don’t include these, perhaps it’s time to initiate them. The more time we spend discerning God’s blessings, the easier it will be to fulfill our calling to bless those who are evil, do good, seek peace, and pray.
An Invitation to Spiritual Foodies: Taste God
Peter quotes Psalm 34:11-15 in his admonition to the Christians in the diaspora. “Taste and see that the Lord is good. David calls upon men to stir up their senses, and to bring a palate endued with some capacity of tasting, that God’s goodness may become known to them. His meaning, therefore, is that there is nothing on the part of God to prevent the godly, to whom he particularly speaks in this place, from arriving at the knowledge of his goodness by actual experience…God never disappoints the expectations of those who seek his favor. Our own unbelief is the only impediment which prevents him from satisfying us largely and bountifully with abundance of all good things…David exhorts them to reflect upon the providence of God, and to rest assured that they are safe under his wings.” (3) “Every man desires life, even a natural life; it is more desirable than all things in it; especially a healthful life, without which the blessings and mercies of life cannot be comfortably enjoyed; and still more a life of prosperity; life, with an affluence of good things, and even a long one: though it may be rather that a spiritual life is here meant, and a comfortable one; a life free from the remorses of a guilty conscience, from the fear of hell, damnation, and wrath; from the bondage of the law, and the dread of death; a life of faith on Christ, and communion with him; and a life of sobriety, righteousness, and holiness; and perhaps it may be best of all to understand it of eternal life…[and] that he may see good; there is good to be seen and enjoyed in this life, which if the saints did not believe they should see and enjoy, they would often faint; and this good lies in the participation of the blessings of grace, and in fellowship with Father, Son, and Spirit: but the great and lasting good to be seen and enjoyed is in the world to come, when God shall be all in all, be seen as he is, and the saints shall inherit all things.” (4)
The Good We Do Extends God’s Blessings
“David is saying that the fear of the Lord is doing right, that is, that it involves obedience [to his Word]. Moreover, since the fear of the Lord is the enjoyment of the Lord, the way to enjoy the Lord, to ‘taste and see that [he] is good,’ is to obey him. One commentator explains this by saying, ‘The good you enjoy goes hand in hand with the good you do. It is an emphasis which answers the suspicion (first aroused in Eden) that outside the will of God, rather than within it, lies enrichment.'” (5) As we meditate on God’s blessings, we begin to pray for Russia’s leaders, drug lords, political opponents, false teachers, abortionists, and proponents of “do what you feel like doing,” to name a few of our “enemies.” “It is common to long for retaliation in the face of unjust criticism or suffering, but Jesus behaved like the meek lamb of Isaiah 53:7. He could do so because he continued entrusting both himself and those who mistreated him entirely to God, knowing that God is just and will make all things right in the end. Likewise believers, knowing that God judges justly, are able to forgive others and to entrust all judgment and vengeance to God. Every wrong deed in the universe will be either covered by the blood of Christ or repaid justly by God at the final judgment.” (6) Because we are blessed in Christ, we will strive to bless others, turn away from evil, do good, seek peace and pray. “Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.” (Psalms 5:11-12)
Related Scripture: Job 36:7; Proverbs 8:13; Isaiah 53:7-9; Matthew 5:44-45; Luke 6:27-31; Romans 12:14, 18-19; 1 Corinthians 4:12-13; Hebrews 12:3-4.
- Doriani, Daniel M., “1 Peter—Reformed Expository Commentary,” 1 Peter, p. 125, P & R Publishing, 2014.
- Doriani, Ibid, pp. 131-132.
- Calvin, John, “Heart Aflame: Daily Readings from Calvin on the Psalms,” Psalm 34, P & R Publishing, 1999.
- Gill, John, “John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible,” Psalm 34:11-15, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-34.html
- Boice, James, “Boice Expositional Commentary Series,” Psalm 34, Baker Books, Software version, 1998.
- “English Standard Version Study Bible Notes,” 1 Peter 2:23, (digital edition), Crossway, 2008.
May 5, 2022