10 “For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (I Peter 3:10-12).
Lest we believe that what Peter poses in I Peter 3:8-9, and what Paul shares in Romans 12:17-21, is exclusively a New Testament ethic, Peter immediately quotes from Psalm 34:12-16.
Psalm 34 is a Psalm of David. The historical context of the psalm is when David pretended to be insane before Abimelech the priest when David was also fleeing from the wrath of King Saul, as recorded in I Samuel 21. Saul was pursuing and persecuting David due to Saul’s jealousy of David. However, rather than seek revenge against the king, David did everything he could to honor Saul.
As one commentator writes, “In the psalm David called on the congregation to praise the Lord for their salvation. And after affirming that God is good to those who trust Him, he instructed the people on how to live a long life.”
David exhorted Israel to listen to his instructions regarding the fear of the Lord. The instructions were about living a righteous, peaceful life (v. 12), shunning evil and treachery (v. 13), and doing good (v. 14). This is wisdom teaching about the way of the righteous, which produces a life of excellence with the Lord’s blessing.
Additionally, for those who live righteously in the Lord (vs. 15, 17, 19, 21), God gives several assurances. First, He looks positively upon the righteous, which is a sign of protection (v. 15). However, the Lord is against the wicked and will cut off their memory … from the living (v. 16; Prov. 10:7b). Second, the Lord hears (vs. 6, 15) the prayers of the righteous who are broken in spirit.
It may well be hard to be nice to someone who has hurt you deeply. To say that you are broken-hearted would be an understatement. However, the way to overcome such pain is not to inflict pain of your own. It is God’s will that we bless rather than curse.
May our growth in Christ be evidenced by such an ethic beloved. Have a blessed day, and may you be a blessing.
Soli deo Gloria!