““Whoever would love life and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
11 They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Psalm 34.12-16
1 Peter 3.10-12 is a direct quote from Psalm 34.12-16. The Old Testament was the early believers’ Bible. Most of whom were Jews, they knew this to be God’s word. They had read it, memorized it, allowed it to live within their hearts. And here we have proof of that. Peter quotes Scripture directly. I might suggest that a Scripture quoted from Scripture can’t be ignored! So what is Peter wanting to convey in quoting Psalm 34? Let’s take a look.
He has just finished admonishing the church. Telling us how to act. Not to repay evil for evil but good for evil. To bless and not curse. Here in verses 10-12, Peter begins by saying, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.” Who doesn’t want to “see good days?” Who doesn’t want to live a good life? Peter instructs us from God’s word that in order to experience this we must control our tongue and our lips. In other words, what we say matters. Period.
Second, once we have mastered what we say, we “must turn from evil and do good…seek peace and pursue it.” This seems relatively straightforward. Turn from evil! Ok, I know in my mind that this is good but what a constant battle. Not only must I not do evil but I must fill my time with doing good things. I must seek out peace and pursue it. My actions must follow my intentions.
And why must I do this? Verse 12 gives us the answer — “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer.” I do good for his glory. He is watching those who are righteous, seeking holiness and as we do good — God is attentive to, or he gives extra attention to our prayers. It says to me that God will bless those who seek him and live according to his ways. And in turn, he is against those who do evil.
Living for God means we are to walk as Jesus walked and live as he lived. Jesus did good. He loved people. He loved God. He honored the Lord and brought people into the light. He was full of peace, not evil, anger or lust. He was holy as the Lord God is holy.
Should we strive to be the same as Jesus?
” O Lord God, you are good. I praise you. I thank you for making us holy through your son Jesus and by your Spirit. Come now, Holy Spirit, help us turn from evil and toward your glorious light. Help me be the person you have called me to be in this life and in the life to come. In the darkness, bring me light. In my struggles, bring relief. Make me an instrument of your grace and a messenger of your peace. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen