Sunday, February 27, 2022

“Under God’s Mighty Hand” [Matt's Messages]

“Under God’s Mighty Hand”
As Foreigners and Exiles - The Message of 1 Peter
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
February 27, 2022 :: 1 Peter 5:5-7

I’ve got a long sentence that I want you all to repeat after me. This sentence has two parts to it. It’s very theological and very practical. It’s very reassuring, and it’s very convicting at the very same time. Are you ready?

Okay, repeat after me.

“There is a mighty God, and I am not Him.”

The phrase that really jumped out at me from these three verses was in verse 6. 

“Under God’s Mighty Hand.”

Just think about those words.

There is a God, and He is mighty! He is strong. He is powerful. The theologians say that He is omnipotent. “Omni” means all. “Potent” means powerful. All powerful. Almighty.

And His “hand” is figurative language to describe His power at work in the world.

That phrase, God’s “mighty hand,” was used over and over again in Old Testament, especially to describes God’s acts of judgment and salvation in the Exodus.

Yesterday, the Elders met for our monthly shepherding meeting, and we studied Deuteronomy chapter 6 together. And it talked about how the LORD brought the Israelites “out of Egypt with a mighty hand” with “miraculous signs and wonders–great and terrible!” (vv.21-22)

God’s mighty hand. Just think about it. The plagues. The Red Sea Rescue. The giving of the Law. “God’s mighty hand.” What the Almighty can do. 

And you and I are to live our lives, Peter says, “under” that mighty hand. What does that mean? It means to recognize that God is God and we are not. We are under His mighty hand. His sovereignty and His salvation.

Last week, the Apostle Peter gave instructions to the elders, the leaders of these churches in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. He told them how they needed to be shepherds of God’s flock that was under their care. They needed to be eager to be examples, and one day they would be rewarded.

Now in verse 5, Peter turns, in the same way, to the followers. The younger folks. Verse 5.

“Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older.”

Peter is basically turning to all of the followers, not just the young men. The Greek word there basically means the “newbies” as opposed to the “oldbies” who are the elders. We have a word “elders,” but we don’t have word a “newbers.” The point is that those who are up and coming should be submissive to those who are further along and are faithfully doing the work of shepherding.

Peter has been big all along on submission, hasn’t he?  Remember what he said about it in chapter 2 and chapter 3

Submission to human authority is always qualified and never absolute. And it’s often uncomfortable, especially when the leaders are not great or even bad. But it’s also a mark of Christlikeness to submit to human authorities in the world and here we find also in the church.

“Be submissive” to the elders. How are you doing at that? Last week, we said that whatever the elders are supposed to be doing, the flocks has a corresponding responsibility to match.

If the elders are to shepherd, are we allowing ourselves to be shepherded?
If the elders are supposed to be eager to serve, are we making it easy for them to be willing to do the work?
If the elders are supposed to be examples, are we following their examples?

Did anybody contemplate that this last week?

As one of the elders, very aware of my own shortcomings, I hesitate to bring it up, but I didn’t raise the issue. The Apostle Peter did. How are you doing at being submissive to the elders?

What does it take to do that?  The Apostle Peter says that it takes a big heaping dose of humility. V.5 again.

“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’”

This is a short message. I only have two points. And this is the first one.

Under God’s Mighty Hand:


“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another...”

Now, notice that Peter says for everybody to do that. Not just the flock but the shepherds. He means both the elders and the newbers. Both the old’uns and the young’uns. Not just the followers but the leaders, too. Everybody needs to put on humility.

I love it that he recognizes that this is not natural nor normal. We have to be told to do it. We are not naturally or normally humble. We have to put it on.

Not like an act. Not fake, but like our true clothing. “[C]lothe yourselves with humility toward one another...”  Like when our Lord Jesus washed His disciples feet (John 13).

When was the last time you humbled yourself before another believer? Maybe gave up your preference? Your way of doing it?

A leader saying, “I’d rather we all did this, but I sense that everybody would be better served if we did this other thing instead.”

A follower saying, “I don’t like the way you planned this out, but I’ll go along with it, because it’s not a matter of right or wrong. I’ll humble myself and go your way.”

Do you see how peaceful and joyful a church can be when everybody is putting on humility?

But that’s not why Peter says we ought do to it. Did you notice Peter’s logic? Peter’s reasoning?

Why should we put on humility? V.5 again.

“...because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’”

Because God is God, and I am not.

What a phrase, “God opposes the proud.”

That’s right out of Proverbs 3:34 and James quoted it in his book, too, in James 4:6.

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

What a scary thing to say! I don’t know about you, but I do not want God to be in opposition to me. This is how God feels about pride–He opposes it. He opposes those whose lives are marked by it.

Because when we act all proud, we begin to act like we are God, right?

“There is a mighty God, but I am not Him.” Look at verse 6.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” God has a mighty hand, and we need to recognize that we are under it. We are not over God’s hand. We are under it. And so we need to accept what we receive from it.

Including hardships and trials. We’ve learned the last few months that God is sovereign over our troubles and trials.

That’s what it means to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand.

To not rail against God and say that He’s doing it all wrong. And if we were put in charge, we’d do it differently. We ought to be god! Not Him!

God won’t stand for that. God stands in opposition to that. God is God, and we are not.

Let me put it this way: Under God’s mighty hand, pride makes no sense at all. Put on humility. Get over yourself.

The good news is that under God’s mighty hand, humility makes all of the sense in the world. Humility is sanity. 

And God blesses it! Verse 5 says, that God gives grace to the humble. And verse 6 says that if we humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, He will lift us up in due time. Could be soon or could be in the Kingdom. Either way, it’s for certain. God blesses the humble.

Why wouldn’t we want to be humble?

One of my sons is a blacksmith and he pounds on steel all day with a big old hammer. I type all day long with my hands.  He’s twenty years old. I am almost forty nine.

Which of us would do you think would win if Drew and I were to arm wrestle? Now, he is a lefty, and I am right handed. So what if we were wrestling with our right hands? I shouldn’t even try except for a good laugh.

So let me ask you this, which hand would you rather lifted up you? Your own hand? Or God’s mighty hand? I know which one I want (at least when I’m being sane!). 

“There is a mighty God, and I am not Him.”

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he (with His mighty hand!) may lift you up in due time. Isn’t that awesome?!

But it gets better! Not only are we called to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand and then be lifted up, but we are invited to put ourselves and our all of our worries and cares into that mighty hand! Look at verse 7 and marvel at it!

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Under God’s Mighty Hand.


Put on humility and cast off anxiety. 

I hope you have memorized verse 7. If you have not yet, you really should. 

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Take all of your worries, all of your (King James calls them “cares”), all of the things that scare you to death and throw them onto the Lord.

The Greek word there is the same one that Luke used to describe the people throwing their cloaks onto the donkey that Jesus rode into town on Palm Sunday (19:35).

We’re supposed to be putting on the cloaks of humility, but to be casting off the cloaks of anxiety.

And not just off of us but onto the Lord. "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

This is not “Don’t be worry, be happy.” This is not “Hanuka Matata.”  This is taking the things that are bothering me and hurling them onto Jesus. Putting them on Him.

And it’s not a one-and-done sort of thing. It’s not something you do once and then your worries are all gone. “They’re on Jesus now!” You’re above them all. You’re “too blessed to be stressed.”

No. This is something you do every day. All day long. You keep doing it. You have to keep doing it. Because the worries keep coming. But you keep throwing them onto Jesus.

Because He can handle them, right? Because He has a “mighty hand.” The same hand that can oppose the proud but lift up the humble can also handle any of the things that are worrying you today.

Now, there is a subtle rebuke here, isn’t there? There is a connection between pride and worry. Verse 7 is actually tied in the Greek grammar to verse 6.  It could be translated, “Humble casting all your anxiety on him...” There is a connection between pride and worry. Just as there is a connection between humility and faith.

If we are unwilling to let go of our cares and hold tightly onto them, then we are in effect saying, “I’ve got this God, I can handle it better than you.” That’s what worry says. Worry says, “God doesn’t have this. I have to hold onto it.”

Anybody been there recently? This is me every day right now. God is having to pry my fingers off of my worries. And He keeps calling me to toss them onto Him.

So I hope it’s obvious that there is nothing sinful or wrong about being hit with anxious thoughts and having things that you are concerned about, worries that come your way. Every. Single. Day. Maybe every single moment.

But there is something sinful and wrong about holding tightly onto those worries and refusing to toss them onto your Lord. That is like saying, “There is a mighty God, and I am he!” Or even worse, “There is no mighty God; there is only me.” “It’s all up to me.”

No, beloved, no. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Remember, these people had a lot to worry about. Genuinely.

They were being persecuted.

They were experiencing painful trials. Fiery trials. Burning!

This isn’t “easy for them to say.” They had it hard.
Peter had just said to them, “[Beloved dear ones,] do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.”

Somebody might have been coming that day to kill them.

And Peter says to them, “Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand...[and]...cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Isn’t it interesting that he tells people who are hurting to humble themselves? I think that’s counter-intuitive. I would never have done that. But Peter knows that hurting people can react to the pain by filling up with arrogance and pride as a way of dealing with it all.

So, instead, Peter says to put on humility and cast off anxiety. And onto your Lord.

And here’s the most beautiful phrase of all (v.7), “because he cares for you.” That mighty hand? It’s a caring hand. It’s a gentle hand.

“See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him [He’s got a mighty hand! Listen to what He does with it? Isaiah 40:11]. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young” (Isaiah 40:10-11).

His mighty hand is a caring hand. Caring for you. All of that omnipotent power is at work caring for you!

Put your name in verse 7 because it belongs there.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares”

Put your worries there in verse 7 because they belong there.

What are you worried about? Genuinely. Peter’s readers had a lot to worry about, and I’m sure you and I do, too. We live in a broken world and there are many genuine cares and concerns coming at us all day long.

Think about the Christians in Ukraine right now. Our brothers and sisters in Christ living in a war zone. 
God invites them to put their genuine worries in His mighty hand.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

You might want to do that on the front of your bulletin, right? You see those big words that Marilynn put there for you? Next to anxiety put down what is worrying you right now. I know mine. I think about them more than I think about God’s mighty hand. And then next to the word “you,” write your name.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
You know He cares for you, right? You know it because of what Jesus did for you on the Cross. And not because you had done anything for Him first. You were still a sinner when He did that. He just did it for you out of love and care. 

And if He would do that, then you know that He can handle whatever is worrying you His mighty hand.

There is a mighty God, and you and I are definitely not Him.

Under God’s mighty hand pride makes no sense at all. So put on humility.

And cast off anxiety, because under God’s mighty hand, faith makes all of the sense in the world.


Previous Messages in This Series:

01. "Elect Exiles" 1 Peter 1:1-2
02. "A Living Hope" 1 Peter 1:3-7
03. "Angels Long To Look Into These Things" 1 Peter 1:8-12
04. "Be Holy In All You Do" 1 Peter 1:13-16
05. "Live Your Lives As Strangers Here In Reverent Fear" 1 Peter 1:17-21
06. "Love Each Other Deeply, From the Heart" 1 Peter 1:22-2:3
07. "But Now You Are..." 1 Peter 2:4-10
08. “As Foreigners And Exiles” 1 Peter 2:11-12
09. "Submit Yourselves For the Lord's Sake 1 Peter 2:13-17
10. "Follow In His Steps" 1 Peter 2:18-25
11. "Do What Is Right And Do Not Give Way To Fear" 1 Peter 3:1-7
12. "Inherit a Blessing" 1 Peter 3:8-12
13. "Even If You Should Suffer For What Is Right" 1 Peter 3:13-16
14. "To Bring You To God" 1 Peter 3:17-22 (esp. 18)
15. "To Suffer for Doing Good" 1 Peter 3:17-22
16. "Done with Sin" 1 Peter 4:1-6
17. "The End Of All Things Is Near" 1 Peter 4:7-11
18. "Do Not Be Surprised" 1 Peter 4:12-19
19. "Shepherds of God's Flock" - 1 Peter 5:1-4