1Pe 5:5-7 “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
In verses one through four, Peter has not used the word submission in any of its forms. Yet he begins verse five with the word “likewise,” which indicates in the same manner as previously described. While he did not call it being submissive, this is exactly what Peter was describing in the previous verses when he instructed the senior members (elders) to feed the flock of God willingly. Submission makes us willing to serve with a ready heart without concern for our own reward in doing so. We should be always submissive and ready to the will of the chief Shepherd.
Now, likewise, he is telling the younger (or remainder) of his audience to be submissive to the elders. While the terms elder and younger can refer to chronological age, the terms also refer to the degree of experience. It is entirely possible for a young person in age to be an elder when it comes to their understanding of the grace of God (see Timothy, among others). At the same time, a person can be older and still be new to walking in the kingdom of God. It is not likely that the Ethiopian eunuch was an extremely young person considering his position (Act 8:27). However, he was still new to the wonderful truth of salvation by grace through Jesus Christ. So just as the elders are to feed the flock of God willingly through the leadership of the chief Shepherd, so the younger are to willingly eat what the chief Shepherd provides them through the elders.
At the same time, Peter reminds the group as a whole not to be high-minded with a brother. He has spoken to the elders about being submissive to the chief Shepherd; he has spoken to the younger about being submissive to the elders (as they are submissive to the chief Shepherd); and now he advises that all should be submissive to the other. As a parent (elder), I never knowingly went along with anything that I knew would possibly harm my children, no matter how much they wanted me to. At the same time, in being submissive to some of their wishes, I was reminded again of the wonder of life. It was such a wonderful gift to see the wonder of the world again through their eyes. By the same token, I am so often filled with joy in the fellowship of those who are newly come to the faith. I learn from them to not take what I know for granted; I am reminded to still see the wonder in the grace I have known from my youth. Because we may be elders does not give us permission to be high-minded.
We should be dressed with humility. We are to endure hardness as good soldiers. We are expected to be a model for others of how to love our enemies. As elders in His kingdom, we are expected to give freely of that which we have received freely (Mat 10:8). God is opposed to the proud, no matter how long we have walked in the kingdom. By the same token, He gives grace to the humble.
Knowing that He gives grace to the humble, we should (with joy) humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand. Under that hand we find shelter, peace, comfort, instruction, and welcome! In humbling ourselves under His hand, He lifts us up to praise Him and feed His flock as seems appropriate to Him. When we humble ourselves under His hand, we can be submissive to one another while still being bold in the Lord. It is in humbling ourselves under His mighty had that we are able to come boldly to the throne of grace (Heb 4:16). When we are young in the kingdom, being humble and bold at the same time might seem a paradox. The chief Shepherd is our pattern of a humble and bold life, and He has called us to be a model of that to His flock.
By now you might be thinking “I am just human. How can I possibly do all this and do it properly?” I still find myself questioning whether or not I am studying enough. Do I visit enough? Do I pray enough? Do I care enough? It is not only the concerns of daily life that we are to cast on Him. Indeed, when our desire is to be a humble servant to His flock and walk willingly before our God, it is often our concern about how well we are serving that causes us the greatest care. Cast all your care upon Him!
According to Strong’s, the word “care” carries the idea of distraction. Our cares are a distraction from our service. I need to bring all my distractions to Him. Take the time I am distracted by the question “Am I studying enough?’ and use that time to study. Instead of being distracted by the question “Am I praying enough?”, bow my heart before Him and pray. We have the liberty to bring all these concerns and cast them on Him, because we matter to Him! He is concerned and involved with and in our lives. He cares for you and me! He cares for the elders, and He cares for the younger. He is the God of creation, and He cares for us!
May we be blessed today to understand that we don’t just lay our distractions before Him to see what He will do, but we are to throw (cast) our cares upon Him in the full assurance that He cares for us!