The Benefit of Afflictions
1 Peter 5:5-7
Likewise, you younger, submit yourselves to the elder. Yes, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility…

I. THE HAND OF GOD is an expression used in various parts of Scripture to denote the Almighty's interference with the sons of men, in a way both of providence and grace. Thus in Acts 4:28 it signifies His eternal purpose and executive power. In Psalm 104:28 it denotes His providential bounty and goodness. In John 10:29 it denotes His mighty power to preserve and defend. It is used likewise with reference to the inspiration of the prophets: "The hand of the Lord was on Elijah." In other places it expresses the help of the Almighty. Nehemiah and Ezra repeatedly acknowledge the Divine aid which was vouchsafed in these words, "according to the good hand of God upon us." The Psalmist uses it to denote God's merciful corrections (Psalm 32:4; Psalm 38:2). It is clearly in this latter sense that we are to regard the expression in our text. Is it asked, then, how God lifts up His heavy hand upon His people, and how they may know that it is lifted up? I answer, in various ways. In all things He consults the spiritual good of His children. He varies therefore the mode of correction, as well as the degree of it, to their peculiar circumstances and situations. Upon some His hand is lifted up in a way which is only known to themselves and to their God. Their comforts are withdrawn. Their evidences are clouded. Perhaps they are reduced to the very brink of despair. But the Lord does not always correct from His own immediate presence. The devil may be the executioner of His chastisement, as in Job's case. The wicked, too, are spoken of by the Psalmist as the Lord's hand (Psalm 17:13). They may oppose, they may persecute. Worldly losses, pain, sickness, disappointments, interruptions of domestic happiness, the death of friends and beloved relatives, are all tokens of the uplifting of the mighty hand of God.

II. OUR DUTY UNDER THE UPLIFTED HAND OF GOD. Humble yourselves, that is, be lowly. Yield to the hand which smites you. Say, "It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good." The precepts of the gospel go directly counter to our depraved nature. Were it not for the restraining grace of God, there is no length of repining which we should not run. But the believer has been made a new creature in Christ Jesus. Grace has called him back to that Sovereign from whom he had revolted. The expression in our text, "humble yourselves," seems to imply three things; consciousness of a necessity for the trial, patience under the pressure of it, and a believing expectation of deliverance.

III. THE HAPPY EFFECTS RESULTING FROM THIS DUTY OF HUMBLING OURSELVES. "That He may exalt you in due time." This expression may denote the removal of the trial when it has effected its purpose; or the esteem which the believer frequently obtains, even from an ungodly world, by his firmness and consistency of conduct; or that eminence in the graces and blessed fruits of the Spirit which beautifies his soul and renders him really exalted. For holiness, or, in other words, conformity to the image of the Saviour, is alone true greatness.

(W. C. Wilson, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

WEB: Likewise, you younger ones, be subject to the elder. Yes, all of you clothe yourselves with humility, to subject yourselves to one another; for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

Submission to Divine Dispensation
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