Peter’s second Epistle is challenging because it relates to the excessively ungodly atmosphere in which we live. But first we were fascinated by lessons in our Old Testament readings. Samson upset his parents because he “saw one of the daughters of the Philistines” and said to them “get her for me as my wife”. His parents objected, but he insisted; then comes the comment, “His father and mother did not know it was from the LORD, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines” (Judges 14:1-4).

We perceive that God does not overrule human free will; what He does is weave it into His ongoing purpose in His oversight of human affairs especially those of His chosen people. We perceive the same principle in the life of Hezekiah that Isaiah writes about. God told him to “set your house in order, for you shall die … Hezekiah wept bitterly” (38:1,2) and God heeded his prayers. However, the son that succeeded him – born during the 15 years added to his life – was a disaster; but the nation had not appreciated the blessings of Hezekiah’s reign and the deliverance we read about yesterday, they ‘deserved’ a bad king.

In 2 Peter we see that those in special service before God can, on occasion, be described as “angel”. In Matthew 11:10, John the Baptist is described as a “messenger” but in Greek the word is aggelos. This word is used by Peter (2:4) saying “for if God did not spare the angels that sinned” referring, we conclude to some of the Levites who had the privilege of serving in the Tabernacle, see Numbers 16. Also in Hebrews 2:2, “the message declared by angels (aggelos)” is most likely a way of describing human prophets such as Isaiah, who declared God’s message.

Peter contrasts the judgement on “the angels that sinned” with the deliverance of Noah and Lot because of their righteousness (verses 5-8). He then makes the point that there will be no sparing by God of believers who become sinful in Peter’s day. “There will be false teachers among you … and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed” (2:1,2). Peter is very blunt about those who “have hearts trained in greed … forsaking the right way” (verses 14,15). Let us hold fast to the right way – so that God will spare us from His judgements that will surely come on this godless world. Let us live “lives of holiness and godliness” (3:11).