This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Saviour through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgement and destruction of the ungodly.
I was reminded by my mother that I missed a dental appointment today. It was written on our calendar and I didn’t see it. I now have regrets because I feel irresponsible. However, my children were up all night last night and I had to take care of Amelia today. She had two naps instead of her usual one. I joined her on the second one. We could say that I have an excuse, but the fact remains that I did not see the reminder and I missed it. Peter gives us a reminder in the text above. Each of us has capacity for thoughtful and significant living, but we miss it because we forget. We fill our lives with things that seem important and we miss what is more important. We are busy completing our to-do list and never quite get the time to read the Bible, pray, or think about God. In so doing we are not mindful of God’s word, his presence, or what he wants to do. Like I missed my dental appointment, we miss divine appointments and our lives are impoverished.
Recently I have been aware, more and more, of how I am not the man I want to be. I have tried to organize my life spiritually to provide a service to others. This might sound like it is in line with the second commandment, “love your neighbour as yourself,” but it is not. I have not put the things of God before the wants of others. In some ways I have pandered to the dissatisfied consumerism of others and become unsatisfied myself. I have been reminded that God has given me insight into the kind of living he wants and rather than descend to the level of others I need to uphold the standards I espouse. For example, when I think of how my small group reports each week that they do not read their Bible regularly, I do not feel motivated to read mine. I am too focused on them. Instead I must continue to read the Bible for God. When the small group could dissolve because of lack of commitment, I should remind myself of God’s command that people keep meeting together. I should then be committed to those who show up rather than bemoan the lack of commitment others might have to me.
One thing that should inform all of our thinking is the thought of Jesus’ return. We should live with a sense that it could be at any moment, but we are prone to forget. In fact, the false teachers of Peter’s time were scoffing at those who lived with expectant hearts. I know that I can think that 2000 years of waiting is a long time. Then I remember that these huge amounts of time are nothing to God. As America slides into a dreamless sleep, where all religious memory is lost and a new age spirituality replaces the truth, we Christians must remind each other and stay awake and alert. Some of us are so consumed by the culture that we are unaware of our lack of authentic relationship with Jesus. Is this a sign that we are apostate, or can we be awakened by Peter’s reminder?
Jesus, lack of sleep leaves me drained. I feel like I have forgotten something more than a dental appointment. My flesh seems to drag me down and encourage my mind to turn to trivial and temporal things. Change my mind, may it be renewed, that I may have a day when I think of you deeply and sincerely. Let me pursue you and exhort others to do so. May I not descend into apathy, but be conscious of what is good, and right, and true.
- What had the recipients forgotten?
- What two elements are referenced in the passage?
- How do you think Peter adapts his style for a Greek audience?
- How do others around you teach you to forget?
- How do you counter the apathy and forgetfulness around you?
“We are busy completing our to-do list and never quite get the time to read the Bible, pray, or think about God. In so doing we are not mindful of God’s word, his presence, or what he wants to do. Like I missed my dental appointment, we miss divine appointments and our lives are impoverished.”
Mr. Worrall, thank you so much for writing these words, and today’s devotional in general. I needed this so much today because it sums up my day so far. I woke up with a million things to do, reminding myself “don’t forget to spend time with God,” just like another check off my list. It is so easy to be busy, to forget, to become apathetic… in a matter of moments. My mind and heart can be so filled with and focused on God today and so far tomorrow. May we continuously be transformed by the daily (& even hourly!) renewal of our minds in His truth. I needed this reminder.
The recipients were reminded not to forget or lose sight of God’s promises, Jesus’ return, and not to fall into the traps of these deceivers. These very words hold true for us today.
I am not sure if they are forgetting anything, but Peter was reminding them that they should remember the predictions of the prophets of old and the commandment from Jesus Christ. Scoffers will be coming, followed by their sinful desires, and how they deliberately overlook creation. I think people teach me to forget by telling me useless information so that my mind is then full of useless information. Also, when people around me are forgetful but just brush it off as no big deal, then I think begin to believe that forgetting is ok and everyone does and its no big deal.
1.What had the recipients forgotten?
2.What two elements are referenced in the passage?
3.How do you think Peter adapts his style for a Greek audience?
4.How do others around you teach you to forget?
5.How do you counter the apathy and forgetfulness around you?
The recipients seem to have forgotten the history of the world. There was another time when the earth was filled with scoffers who ignored the warnings and symbols of what was immanent. It was not until the flood had arrived that their indiscretion was realized and then too late. Peter references the flood and creation as reminders of things in the past which were brought about by God. I am not sure about how Peter adapts this specifically for a Greek audience…
It is often the small and seemingly innocent comments which push me into forgetfulness of what is important and where value and truth lies. “Why on earth are you doing another bachelors” “Don’t waist your brain–it would be irresponsible for you to not pursue something in engineering” “How are you going to make it in that tiny apartment with two kids?” Oh God, it is comments like these which cause me moments of reflection and questioning…But how grateful I am that none of the underlying value statements behind such questions are in line with You…
I find, in a similar way, that my spiritual life is often focused on others and helping them rather than on my relationship with God. While seeming quite pious, it is actually a disservice. I cannot help people if my relationship with God is no better than or worse than the person I am trying to help. I cannot forget or put off the time I spend with God in favor of other, less meaningful things, even service for God to others. It is an incredibly easy trap in which I can and do often fall.
As of late, the apathy of others does not drive me to go on. It used to spur me on to avoid apathy, not in a competitive or holier-than-thou sort of way, but seeing what I do not want my relationship with God to become. This has become increasingly difficult as of late and my relationship has suffered because of it. Thankfully, God has been drawing me back to himself in the most merciful of ways.
I think one way that helps me “keep awake” and “stay alert” is to read the works of those who’ve gone before, not just in the Bible (although that’s much more important), but also those who came after the canon was sealed, some, much later. I recall how reading “The Shadow of the Almighty”- which is a book of Jim Elliot’s journal entries with commentary by Elisabeth Elliot- touched me and how the lyrics of hymns can stick with me, reminding me of eternity and what’s of true significance. Another book that has blessed me is “The Valley of Vision”- a book of puritan prayers. Here is one below, titled “The Second Coming.”
O SON OF GOD AND SON OF MAN,
Thou wast incarnate, didst suffer, rise, ascend for my sake;
Thy departure was not a token of separation but a pledge of return;
Thy Word, promises, sacraments, show thy death until thou come again.
That day is no horror to me,
for thy death has redeemed me,
thy Spirit fills me,
thy love animates me,
thy Word governs me.
I have trusted thee and thou has not betrayed my trust;
waited for thee, and not waited in vain.
Thou wilt come to raise my body from the dust, and re-unite it to my soul,
by a wonderful work of infinite power and love,
greater than that which bounds the oceans’ waters,
ebbs and flows the tides,
keeps the stars in their courses,
and gives life to all creatures.
This corruptible shall put on incorruption,
this mortal, immorality,
this natural body, a spiritual body,
this dishonored body, a glorious body,
this weak body, a body of power.
I triumph now in thy promises as I shall do in their performance,
for the head cannot live if the members are dead;
Beyond the grave is resurrection, judgment, acquittal, dominion.
Every event and circumstance of my life will be dealt with-
the sins of my youth, my secret sins,
the sins of abusing thee, of disobeying thy Word,
the sins of neglecting ministers’ admonitions,
the sins of violating my conscience-
all will be judged’
And after judgment, peace and rest, life and service,
employment and enjoyment, for thine elect.
O God, keep me in this faith, and ever looking for Christ’s return.