Bent Out Of Shape – 1 Peter 5.7

If you’ve ever asked a fellow believer for advice or for counsel, the chances are they will have either quoted 1 Peter 5.7 to you verbatim or perhaps paraphrased the principle. Either way, it’s a commonly thrown-at-people verse:

“…cast all your cares on him because he cares for you”.

It can sometimes feel like a magic, catch-all verse when someone is struggling with something or working through something, can’t it? 

*

Them: ‘I’m having a tough time at work at the moment

You: ‘Cast all your cares on Him…

*

Them: ‘My kids are in a really challenging phase of behaviour right now

You: ‘Cast all your cares on Him…

*

Them: ‘We don’t know whether to stay here for another year, move back home, or look for work elsewhere

You: ‘Cast all your cares on Him…

*

Sometimes quoting 1 Peter 5.7 can almost be like saying well, I’ve got no discernible opinion or advice to give, so, just give it to God. Is that what Peter intended? Let’s see…

1 Peter 5 begins with instructions on how elders in the church ought to be looking after people (vv.1-4, especially v.3). As we move into vv.5-7 Peter then says, essentially, ‘As they are looking after you, let them do so, and all of you are take a humble attitude towards one another, because God opposes the proud. If you do this, God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourself under his mighty hand by casting all your cares on Him, because, you know, He cares about you’.

So as elders are to look after people with a humble attitude, people are to allow themselves to be looked after with a humble attitude, which is all very pleasing to God because He opposes the proud (Proverbs 3.34). Peter then says that we humble ourselves by casting all of our cares on Him. No need for sackcloth or ashes, simply humble yourself by coming to God with your cares. As we are humble before others, we humble ourselves before God by casting our cares on Him. Roger M. Raymer writes this:

“Knowing God’s attitude should cause Christians not only to be subject to others but also to subject themselves deliberately to God’s sovereign rule. The command humble yourselves (ταπεινώθητε) could be translated “allow yourselves to be humbled.” 

Again with bending Scripture out of shape, we’re not far off with the casual use of 1 Peter 5.7, are we? 

Bro, just cast all your cares on Him because you know, like, God cares for you’. 

That is kind of what Peter is saying, but he introduces it with examples from church life then says look, and as you’re doing that with one another, do so with God too. 

We have the profound privilege of being able to approach God boldly and confidently in prayer because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross (Matthew 27.51, Hebrews 4.14-16). Because He died, rose, and in doing so restored those who put their faith in Him to right relationship with God, we are able to humble ourselves, we are able to cast our cares on Him, and we are able to know that He cares (John 3.16).

So, rather than simply throwing 1 Peter 5.7 at people when they need advice or counsel, let’s use the bigger picture it teaches to encourage people, to build people up, and to show them that we have a loving and caring God who wants to help them. 

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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