We have reached the conclusion of our study of the Four S’s in 1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
The word settle, unlike the other words in our study, has two very different meanings.
Here’s the first meaning:
Live life to the fullest. Shoot for the stars and never settle. Don’t ever settle for less than you deserve, because once you start to settle you always will. Life is too short to settle for something less than spectacular. Never settle for second when first is available. Never settle for the path of least resistance.
“Settle” used in this way means being satisfied with less, with the status quo, with something other than what you originally thought you would have or do.
This kind of settling is frowned upon. The fact that sometimes we must settle for what we’ve been handed or earned, and be content, is a subject for another discussion.
Our meaning for “settle”—our focus for today—is positive and conjures up happy thoughts of “placing in a desired state or order,” which is the end result, God’s promise of where we will end up after suffering.
As in: putting the children to bed at night, especially that precious newborn, who prefers two hours of sleep to eight.
You make sure the child is clean and fed, perform all kinds of rituals, mental gymnastics, gently put the child to bed, tiptoe, holding your breath, back down the hall to the living room, and the father of the child says, “Did she settle down?”
When you can say, “Yes,” is there a more uplifting thought than that?
Or: you move into a new house. You had great intentions as you packed up the old house, carefully arranged belongings in boxes, labelled the boxes, loaded the boxes into a truck, but toward the end of packing up, you started tossing, aiming for the box halfway across the room, hope you hit it, and put the box, un-taped on top of the others in the aforementioned truck.
Then when you get to the house, the boxes end up all over the place, and you live out of them for an unspecified period of time.
And you work along gradually, over days, or even weeks, and one day, you feel at home.
Someone calls to ask how you are, and you say, “Fine. We’ve settled in.”
Or: you are facing a decision and have to consider multiple factors. There are finances to consider, long-term effects, long-term benefits, logistics, trickle down effects. You may be in great turmoil over choosing a school, deciding on a profession, considering a procedure that needs to be done, a course of treatment, or the pursuit of a dream.
You study the options, get advice. If you’re a person of faith, you pray. And then you decide.
Someone asks what you are going go do.
And you’re relieved to tell them you’ve settled on a decision.
It is this kind of peace and assurance and well-being to which our verse refers.
After you have suffered, after your world has been turned upside down, after you think you cannot possibly go on one more day, the trial ends and you are “settled” once again.
Think of your favorite chair, a cup of coffee, a good book, and your dog. That kind of “settled.”
As Philip Yancey wrote in his book, Disappointment with God: “What we feel now, we will not always feel.”
One day, you wake up and look around you, and life is better. The sky does not look gray. You have what you need. You are savoring simple joys.
You are settled.
Like those brave souls who “settled” the West. The harrowing journey was over. Pa built a house and a barn, planted crops, and Ma sent the children out to milk the cow and feed the chickens.
Like Job, who lost everything, and while he was covered with boils, endured jibes from his wife and his “friends,” and at last God put them all to silence and restored Job to health, refilling his barns with plenty, adding precious children to the household.
God’s word is forever settled in Heaven. Psalms 119:89
Paul encouraged believers to be “settled” in the faith. Colossians 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
Being “settled,” is a blessing of the highest order.
Not settled today? Are you in turmoil, suffering from loss, confused, running low on hope, wondering how you’re going to make it another day?
God’s promise is sure. After you have suffered awhile, He will “settle” you.
Charles Spurgeon summed up I Peter 5:10 like this:
May your whole life be so settled and established, that all the storms of earth shall never be able to remove you. But notice how this blessing of being “stablished in the faith” is gained. The apostle’s words point us to suffering as the means employed–“After that ye have suffered awhile.” It is of no use to hope that we shall be well rooted if no rough winds pass over us. Those old gnarlings on the root of the oak tree, and those strange twistings of the branches, all tell of the many storms that have swept over it, and they are also indicators of the depth into which the roots have forced their way. So the Christian is made strong, and firmly rooted by all the trials and storms of life.
May today find you stablished, strengthened, and settled.