2 Peter 1:3-4
According as his divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…
Did you ever hear the story how, once upon a, time, a dove moaned and mourned to her fellow-birds of the tyranny of the hawk — the dove's great foe? One advised her to keep below; but the hawk can stoop for his prey. Another said, Soar aloft; but the hawk could soar as high as she could. Another said, Fly to the woods; but the woods are the very palace and court of the cruel hawk; safety could not be found there. And another said, Fly to the towns; but there she was in danger of being caught by man, who might even make her a sport for the hawk. At last one said, Fly to the holes of the rocks. Violence cannot surprise the dove there. Thus it is with the soul of man distressed and fearful. Come to me, says Riches, and I will shelter you. No, Wealth is only the devil's lure, and, by and by, his rein and his spur. Conic to me, says Pleasure; but she is the very Delilah of the soul, to betray you to the Philistines. Honour says, Come to me; but there is no assurance in any of these. No. Oh, ye that dwell in cities and repose in wealth or pleasure or honour, there is safety in Jesus or nowhere. "Leave the cities and dwell in the rock — in the Rock of Ages — fly to the promises, and be like the dove that maketh her nest by the side of the hole's mouth."
I. CONSIDER THE PROMISES. Ah, if we practically realised the might, the majesty, and the meaning of God's promises, how happy they would often make us l The astronomer, when he knows that the hour of the planet draws nigh, prepares his glasses and climbs his highest towers, and through its bright farseeing eyes he watches and he waits till he beholds it come labouring along its infinite way. And when it has shone through the darkness its hour or its season, then it fades down again into the darkness till another season shall come, and, perhaps, another astronomer hails its beams. So the promises of God are made to conditions, and they shine like constellations. Oh, sweet garden of the promises! But are they not rather like trees — exceeding great and precious promises? It seems to me, when I study the life of the promises, I come as into a vast and stately forest, planted by the glorious men of God in old time by His will and word; and they are, "the fir tree, the pine, and the box together." There are the cedars of Lebanon, which He hath planted; and, like all trees, they are fit for meditation and fruit and use. How cool it is to walk amongst the promises! They are quiet places, and sacred and secret ways, where God, in an especial manner, meets with man's soul. When the glorious sun strikes down, how the promises stretch out their cool arms; and when storms are in the heavens they cannot strike through these boughs. And so every promise conceals or reveals some biography — some way of God in a human soul. Poor Bilney, that noble martyr, lost all comfort after he had recanted till he found the words, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." Beza found the life of his hope in words which I can never forget: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I will give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand." Some of the fathers divided the promises into Pabulum fidei, and Anima fidei — "Food of faith," and the "Soul of faith." "Oh, thou of little faith," see yonder is the state; but do you not see the sunshine falling over it? — those arrowy flakes of gold, they are the promises — the exceeding great and precious promises: when you come to that darkness, fear not, but you shall inherit that light.
II. EXCEEDING GREAT AND PRECIOUS. Do but think how wonderful it is that God should make Himself known by man. And all God's works are promises. They are tokens of holiness, and wisdom, and faithfulness. Why do you plant an acorn? Does it not contain a promise? Infinite value is placed here. And methinks if we did but read the works and ways of God in nature aright we should see everywhere the promise of our future. Oh, when I can stand on the great mountain chains of the Bible, what a view I have! And do not promises strengthen? Our whole life is maintained by promise. Without promise we should sink into the deepest places of despair. We need spiritual tonics. We need them to destroy our unhealthy consciousness, which is only another name for weakness. And how glorious that, by these promises, we are able to look beyond the tomb; yes, by them we escape the corruption that is in the world through lust and see our fair inheritance there. But remember one great condition by which you know your relation to the promise — "escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust." Here, you see, is the great condition. Have you escaped the corruption? Till you breathe in purer air you cannot expect to breathe the sweetness of this promise. Obedience first, then recompense.
(E. P. Hood.)
Parallel VersesKJV: According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: