First Peter 5:7 encourages us, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”. While God embraces all our problems, it doesn’t mean we would be trouble-free. The letter of 1 Peter is addressed to churches that are suffering persecution, and Peter wrote the letter to encourage believers to keep their faith in Christ and maintain integrity in life (1 Peter 3:13-17).
Persecution is probably the main anxiety that Peter has in mind when he wrote, “your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). For how does the devil attack and “devour” Christians? Normally, he works through our human enemies.
It is likely that Psalm 55 is behind 1 Peter 5:7-8. David wrote this psalm when he was surrounded by “destructive forces” (v. 11). Like the devil, “day and night they prowl about” (v. 10). But David writes at the end of the psalm, “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you” (v. 22).
Psalm 55 begins with David pouring out his heart to God. He bewails, “my heart is in anguish within me” (v. 4). He longs to be like a dove and fly away from his enemies, “and be at rest” (v. 6). Doves often make their nests in the cleft of a cliff, high above the ground. There they are safe from their predators.
Jesus warned us that we’ll be persecuted (see Matthew 10:16-23). Hence, we shouldn’t be surprised when enemies of Christ attack us. However, we would be surprised and deeply hurt when someone who claims to be a Christian brother or sister turns against us. Someone you worshipped alongside on Sunday, now plots your ruin on Monday. That was David’s situation.
He writes, “But it is you . . . my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship” (vv. 13-14). We don’t know who David is referring to. Some think it may have been Ahithophel, David’s counsellor, who then joined David’s son, Absalom, in rebellion against him (see 2 Samuel 15:12).
What do we do when enemies unjustly attack us? David and Peter speak with one voice. David turns to the Lord for help. He doesn’t take up the sword himself. Although David was an accomplished fighter, he trusted God to bring justice. He believed that one day God “will bring down the wicked into the pit of decay” (v. 23). Similarly, Peter encouraged his churches, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult” (1 Peter 3:9).
If you’ve ever experienced injustice then you can identify with David. He’s in constant distress and wants to run away. David might have been God’s chosen king, but he was just as human as you and me. David’s trust in God didn’t take away all his pain, but he knew that the Lord would sustain him. God would help him maintain his integrity. We can have the same confidence when we cast our anxieties upon Him.