1 Peter 4:7-11
But the end of all things is at hand: be you therefore sober, and watch to prayer.…
Strange words for Simon Peter to use! For him, the impetuous, the thoughtlessly self-confident, to say, "Be sober," seems a strange contradiction. Well were it for us if our failures led to a similar recovery. Human nature is impatient; we would overleap all barriers, and plunge at once into the full transport of enjoyment, just as the soldier prefers the dash of a sudden assault to the tediousness of a regular siege. Delay looks to us like defeat, like sure disappointment. Why should we have to wait when God might conclude all in an instant? Surely, though the Saviour has ascended up on high, there is enough of tits influence left in the world to sustain our courage for a little further delay. Why, with such precious gifts around us, should we avariciously demand the bestowal of all His store? It is "the patience of the saints" that God is looking to; He would see what we can bear for His sake, how long we can stay without doubting the sureness of His Word. I deny not the tryingness of waiting, but in that the real benefit of waiting consists. We fret for peace in the world, and men try, in one way or other, to force the current of the river and spread the fertilising waters over tracts so high that the forced stream cannot stay in the upland where they wish it to remain. Some would crush out the violence of nations and put down war by the sheer force of superior strength. The remedies to be used are —
1. Be sober. The universe cannot bend itself to your will, therefore look not for too great results.
2. Pray. The only instrument which man possesses for hastening on the triumph of good, the only reliable argument for converting the world, the only channel for peace to ourselves, is prayer.
3. Watch unto prayer. How is it that men become disheartened and cease to pray? The wish is uttered with all earnestness, but it is the convulsive effort of a moment, not sustained, nor followed up. And often the prayer is heard, but the suppliant heeds it not. Watchers see where others notice nothing, their senses are more acute. Act on the firm faith that every earnest prayer is heard, and then you will receive insight enough to trace the coming answer. Wait for it if it comes not at once; it will surely come, it will not tarry. Blows that would crush others will only prove the buoyancy of your faith. Failure in business, beggary, friendlessness, will not prevent your knowing the riches of contentment and of spiritual blessings.
(G. F. Prescott, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.