Surely the RIGHTEOUS will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. THEY WILL HAVE NO FEAR OF BAD NEWS; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.Psalm 12:6-7
For the church, there is Scriptural teaching in the book of 1st Peter, detailing out how elders and followers are to conduct themselves. The Apostle Peter wrote a short description in 1 Peter 5:1-13, reminding both parties of their obligations and the expectation of grace and faith upon the family of believers.
1 Peter 5:7 in particular, is a popularly quoted verse, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you”. By itself, this verse is very encouraging, provides support and mental comfort to those in the midst of undergoing difficult crisis. But going beyond this perception of having merely mental comfort is quite another thing. And as always, reading the entire context of any particular chapter in the Bible will help us unravel the real methods on how to effectively apply and use God’s word in our lives. Unless we carefully analyze Scripture, the knowledge required before Wisdom will not be forthcoming.
Appeal To The Shepherds
Elders were instructed to willingly shepherd God’s flock. Firstly, Peter gave explicit instructions that elders are not pursue for dishonest gains, but to serve eagerly, not to lord over the sheep but to set themselves as examples for others to follow (1 Peter 5:2-3). The job of a shepherd is no easy feat. Breaking down the roles and day-to-day tasks of a shepherd will reveal that to become a good shepherd, an elder requires the resource, bravery, foresight, leadership qualities and good management skills.
Marjorie J. Kinnee, wrote an article back in 2008 entitled, “The Job Description Of A Shepherd”, explaining the requirements of a good shepherd. Here are a few notable excerpts.
A shepherd provides the sheep with basics; food, water, shelter, and protection. He knows what food is best for his flock in every season and where to find it. He can find water for them, even during drought.
The shepherd is also responsible to the Owner (God) of the sheep. The shepherd is entrusted by the Owner with the day-to-day affairs; additions and subtractions from the flock, the time and place for fleecing and wool sales, and selects and trains assistants and helpers, and discharges them if they create harmful situations or cause any danger to the flock.
The shepherd trains the flock to know and follow his voice. This will be the first line of defense for the sheep. To the wayward sheep, he administers discipline and takes preventative measures to correct fatal tendencies. He researches and develops methods and measures to improve the present flock and prepares for future flock needs.
The shepherd leads and guides the flock away from danger. Sometimes, he may have to lead them through hazards; through enemies within and without, wind and weather, and obstacles. His experience is the prime factor. He’s been there before and is not surprised by danger. He knows what to do and how to proceed, even in dangerous situations.
The shepherd is responsible for the physical well-being of the sheep. He sets the pace, always sensitive to the needs of each sheep. A shepherd studies and understand the breed of the sheep. He learns their strengths, weaknesses, and personality of each one in the flock. A thriving and peaceful flock then becomes his blessing and reward.
Therefore, to become a shepherd in a church leading God’s people is no small, menial task. It is not about carving a career for ourselves and to take what belongs to the flock for our self gain. To become a shepherd, is to be selfless and to give to the flock instead.
Instructions To The Sheep
In 1 Peter 5:5-9, the younger ones are firmly told to submit themselves to the elders. And they are to do this with humility because God favors the humble and opposes the proud. And in doing so, they are to cast all their anxieties to God and to live lives knowing that God cares for them.
Meanwhile, the sheep must always be alert. The devil moves around like roaring lion, persistently looking for its prey (1 Peter 5:8). And the Bible teaches us again, to resist the devil and his temptations and to be mindful that the temptations they are experiencing is no different from those that are already common to man (1 Peter 5:9) (cross reference with 1 Corinthians 10:13).
Understand and study the ways of the devil, his characteristics, what he does and how he does them. He is a master in deception, a liar and a carrier of all kinds of temptations. His job is to make us fall into sin. The devil has no power over our lives, he has no power over the winds and weather and he certainly have no power over us if we choose God’s righteous ways.
Here, the call to be faithful and to resist the devil, has nothing to do with ignorance or embracing the “fight till you drop dead” mentality. To end tragically in dead would be to become ultimately defeated. The Bible is very realistic and practical. It teaches us to do things that are profitable and not detrimental to our own selves. And by being faithful means to stand by the will and instructions of God, not surrender to sin and the devil’s ways.
The Hope For Restoration
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, AFTER YOU HAVE SUFFERED A LITTLE WHILE, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 5:10-11). To the remnants, take note.