1 Peter 1:10-12
Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come to you:…
St. Peter here exalts the nature of that glorious reward which is to be the end of tried and purified faith — the salvation of the soul.
I. UNFULFILLED DESIRES. This is a world of desire. We all crave for something we have not got. We crave for possessions and we crave for knowledge.
1. Noblest desires are often unattained. It is not every one who seeks for selfish pleasure. What could have been a more noble aspiration than that of the prophets of old to realise the salvation of which they prophesied? They proclaimed a blessedness which, after diligent search, they discovered was not for themselves to enjoy. How often does God put a limit even to our highest aspirations! One has sought to gain a high knowledge of gospel truth; but his health has broken down. A missionary, in the full possession of manhood and strength, is murdered, and his work apparently crushed. It is the Lord's doing, but it seems strange in our eyes.
2. Legitimate curiosity, when exerted, affords scant satisfaction. It might be in accordance with human nature to inquire particularly into the plans and purposes of God; but the prophets of old expended their curiosity in vain. There is little purpose in investigating too closely the hidden purposes of God. God expects us to do His work, and not to inquire very minutely into the motives or ends of that work.
II. UNENLIGHTENED INSTRUMENTALITIES. The prophets had to inquire respecting the salvation. We have here brought before us one of the mysteries connected with Divine work.
1. God's instrumentalities are not perfect, it is not necessary that they should be so. The world expects the ministers of the gospel to explain all God's purposes, all the Divine plans, and to lay bare the whole current of future events. But even the prophets of old were not altogether wise.
2. God's instrumentalities do not always possess that which they announce to others.
III. UNAPPRECIATED ATTAINMENT. It is evident that the apostle introduces the desire of the prophets and the desire of the angels to realise the mysteries of revelation, not out of mere aimless illustration, but to remind his people of the little interest they felt, and at the same time to arouse in them a spirit of emulation. But how do we act with regard to them? Do we sell all that we have in order to make them ours? Do we sacrifice every thing else to enjoy them? Alas! the characters, and energy, and desire, and love of those who only had a shadow of good things to come ought to cause us to lie low with shame, and to pray for the stirring influence of the Holy Spirit to prick our thankless and unappreciative souls.
(J. J. S. Bird.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: