Lesson 24—The Good Life
Scripture: 1 Peter 3:10-12
Lesson Goal: To gain an understanding of the biblical perspective of the good life.
As we begin today’s lesson, we see Peter borrowing from the words of David found in Psalm 34:12-16. Please read Psalm 34. To understand David’s words, we need to understand his plight in life. David wrote these words while a refugee on the run. King Saul sought his life and pursued him with a relentless resolve. David sought political asylum in Gath, but was quickly identified as the man who had killed their champion, Goliath. David, understanding he had been made, pretended to go mad. He allowed drool to run down his beard, and he talked nonsense after nonsense. He was run out of the city and, with relief, he fled to Adullam. There he found refuge in the great limestone cliffs with its many caves, holes, and cavities. In this stronghold he waited for his men to regroup. While waiting, this Psalm (Psalm 34) flowed from his life and heart. As he reflects back over the happenings of his life, he is ashamed of his lapses of faith and wisdom. He is ashamed of the things done and even the things said. In verses two through eighteen of Psalm 34, David warns his followers that they should keep their tongues from evil and their lips from deceit.
Peter now borrows (quotes) from this Psalm to reinforce and apply meaning to the words that he writes to his readers. Also, let us remember that Peter could have remembered his own experiences in life. In his heart, Peter had the knowledge of such struggles with the tongue.
➢ Why is it that our struggle with our tongues is a lifelong battle?
➢ As with Peter, do yesterday’s failures with your tongue serve as today’s reminders of the importance of wisdom in the use your tongue?
(Verse 10) “He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.” The world and the forces of evil and darkness give us many definitions and pictures of the “good life.” Television has become the main avenue for promoting the world’s idea of the good life, and many in the church have bought into the world’s definition. Peter gives the believer some very practical truth concerning the genuine good life. He writes that he would love life and see good days should:
“refrain his tongue from evil”
Wiersbe writes, “Most of the problems of life are caused by the wrong words spoken in the wrong spirit.” Peter, as most of us, was an expert on this subject.
“refrain his tongue from speaking deceit” The word refrain comes from the Greek word pauō meaning “to stop.” Believers must be committed to speaking the truth.
➢ What would happen in our relationships and our lives if we would stop using our tongues for evil? Read James 3:6 and Psalm 12:3-4.
The ultimate truth of our words is spoken by Jesus in Matthew 12:34b (please read this verse).
In verse 11, Peter gives four very basic imperatives to the believers.
“turn away from evil” (see Proverbs 3:7, 2 Thessalonians 5:22)—“Turn away” means an intense rejection of.
“do good”—that which is excellent in quality. As you turn away from evil, turn to doing that which is good. The good life does not come by doing our own things as the world promotes. It comes as the believer lives for God with a maturing faith that turns from evil and does good. There is a sharp contrast between the worldly view of the good life and the biblical view of the good life.
3-4) “seek peace”—the verbs for both “seek” and “pursue” convey the idea of intensity and direct action. In both these verbs is the idea of the hunter vigorously tracking his prey. With great energy, effort and cause, believers are to hunt for peace. (See Matthew 5:9). “Believers are to strive for peace without compromising the truth” (MacArthur).
(Verse 12) Peter gives a very practical motivation to the believers for living lives that honor and please God.
“the eyes of the LORD” relates to God’s caring and watching over His people. Here it relates to his care in every detail of the believer’s life. See Psalm 139:1-6.
➢ How can understanding that “the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous” bring comfort and consolation to the believer’s life?
➢ How did this speak in power to the situation of Peter’s readers?
“And His ears are open to their prayers” The word prayer is the Greek word deēsin, which means “request, entreaty, petition,” but it relates to believers crying out for God to meet their needs. For Peter’s audience, as well as us, it should bring confidence to our hearts to know that God is ever watching, He knows our situations, and He is waiting to hear and answer our prayers.
“the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Here “the face of the Lord” refers to His watchfulness that brings judgment. His eyes represent His all-seeing, and “face” speaks to his displeasure and anger.
It was very important for the readers of Peter’s writings to understand that God’s judgment would come upon their persecutors in His timing and in His way. The believers must not take vengeance into their own hands, but must live righteous God-honoring lives while they wait upon the Lord to bring vengeance. They must also understand that His eyes were watching and His ears listening. They were not alone as they faced their persecutors.
Questions for Life Focus
What does it mean to you, as a follower of Jesus Christ, that you are not alone? Please prayerfully consider this question and answer in detail.
Explain the importance of the word “righteous” in 1 Peter 3:12.
What are some evils that you are facing today that God would have you turn away from? Be honest and specific in your answer.