"For so is the
will of God, that by well-doing ye should put to silence
the ignorance of foolish men" (1 Pet. 2:15).
"For this is
acceptable, if for conscience toward God a man endureth
griefs, suffering wrongfully... For hereunto were ye
called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you
an example, that ye should follow his steps... who, when
he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered,
threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth
righteously" (1 Pet. 2:19,21,23).
"For the eyes
of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears unto
their supplication... And who is he that will harm you,
if ye be zealous of that which is good? But even if ye
should suffer for righteousness' sake, blessed are ye:
and fear not their fear, neither be troubled" (1
all your anxiety upon him, because he careth for
you" (1 Pet. 5:7).
Lord's Care for His Own
This is just one of the
many standpoints taken up by the Apostle in this letter.
This one represents the position and attitude of the Lord
Himself toward His Own, the realisation of which should
produce a certain state in them. The Lord's attitude is
one of solicitude for His Own - that is what Peter is
saying. "The eyes of the Lord are upon the
righteous and his ears unto their supplication". The
Lord's attitude toward His Own is one of concern for
them. He has His eye upon them, they are not out of His
ken. Not only has He His eye upon them, but He has His
ear open to them; and not only so, but He is taking
definite care concerning them. These three things Peter
says quite definitely.
Response to His Concern
Then he says, 'If you
realise that, it will produce a state of
restfulness, carefreeness, in you. You will cast all your
care, your anxiety, on Him because He cares for you.'
There are three things we might say about this. One -
this word "casting" is a very deliberate word.
This actual word only occurs twice in the New Testament.
The other occasion is in Luke, where, in recording the
entering into Jerusalem on the colt, it says, "they
cast their garments upon the colt" (Luke 19:35). So
if you can picture the people casting their garments on
the colt for Him to ride upon, you get the mental
conception of the word used here - "casting all your
care..." I suppose the people were deliberate in
what they did. It was something quite precise. They
pulled off their garments and put them on the colt's
back. And in our apprehension of the Lord's attitude and
the resultant state produced in us, we deliberately cast
our anxiety upon the Lord, put it over on to Him.
The second thing - as
to the word "care" or "anxiety." It
is one of several Greek words translated in the English
"care." This one definitely means, as the
Revisers have indicated, "anxiety." The word
really means being drawn about - that is, pulled in
various directions at the same time. That is what we mean
by being distracted. It is the word used by the Lord to
Martha when He visited Bethany. "Martha, Martha,
thou art anxious and troubled about many things"
(Luke 10:41); 'All these various things you have on
hand are distracting you, you are torn. Here is My
presence, here is Mary sitting here, you no doubt would
like to be here, you have a pull here; and then there are
all these other things you are occupied with, and you are
pulled that way as well; and being pulled in various
directions you are thrown into a state of anxiety, of
agitation, of distraction; the whole atmosphere is
disturbed; you are "anxious".' It is the word
used in the parable of the sower, concerning the seed
that fell among thorns; the Lord interpreted the thorns
as the cares of this life. "These are they that
have heard the word, and the cares of the world, and the
deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things
entering in, choke the word" (Mark 4:18,19).
The distractions, the anxieties, of this life leave no
place or time for the quiet contemplation of, and
response to, the word that has come. The Lord sows the
word, the Lord gives something with great possibilities
in it, but then we are at once called off and engaged and
engrossed with all sorts of things which spring up, and
the word does not stand a chance. It is anxiety - that is
The third thing to be
said is this. It is as well for us to be perfectly clear
about what we have said, because we shall come upon the
same English word or the same thought in other
connections which seem to be a contradiction. "Be
careful to maintain good works" (Titus 3:8).
And you find exhortations to carefulness scattered
through the New Testament; we are exhorted to take care.
It is not the same original word as the one we have been
considering. When He says, "In nothing be
anxious" (Phil. 4:6), or "casting all your
anxiety upon him," the Lord does not mean that you
are to become careless, indifferent, to put the matter
away as though it is nothing to do with you, that you
have no place in it at all. There is a place where the
Lord expects us to take care, to be careful (in the
ordinary usage of the word among us), to recognise that
we have responsibility, we have to be watchful, we have
to come into the situation, we have to be careful in this
way and in that. That is another thing.
In the passages with
which we began it is this terrible harass of anxiety that
is in view, and it is that that has to be cast over to
the Lord. While occupation must go on, many things must
be attended to, there must be no distraction resulting
from worry about it. "Be not... anxious, saying,
What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or,
Wherewithal shall we be clothed?" (Matt. 6:31).
Here is the same word again. What it amounts to seems
to me to be this - that it is not just a psychological
decision or resolution that we are going to be careless,
we are going to be indifferent, we are not going to
bother. It is to be positively an act of faith. The
anxiety usually comes in as to how things are going to
turn out, what the issue is going to be. The right care
is to do our part. The carefreeness is the result of
committing the issue to the Lord and definitely taking
the faith attitude that He will look after the outcome
while we are looking after what is ours to look after. It
is not just spineless optimism, it is definite faith -
faith that refuses to be harassed and distracted by many
things, by anything.
Now, you know from this
letter of Peter that the people to whom he wrote might
well have been, and probably were, very much in anxious
suspense. The situation was an exceedingly difficult one
for them. Their homes, their families, their livelihood,
their lives, all were in danger, and from every direction
came threats and perils. If it is said to them, surely it
should be said to us. He says, in effect, 'The Lord has
the issues in hand, He is taking care about all that; you
cast your anxiety upon Him because He really does care.'
You have to believe that He does care, and, believing
that, you definitely and deliberately cast over on to Him
that which would cause you to be distraught with anxiety
as to how things are going to work out, and what the
issues are going to be. It is the committal of faith,
very deliberately casting all your anxiety on Him for
"he careth for you." "The eyes
of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears unto
their supplication... Who is he that will harm
you, if ye be zealous of that which is good?"
First published in "A Witness and A Testimony" magazine, Sept-Oct 1948 Volume 26-5