It goes without saying that people want to be able to enjoy their lives. Sadly however, for many people getting through life is not much more than a never-ending chore. According to several online polls, only around one third of people in America claim to be truly “happy” with their lives. People list work stress, financial problems and relationship problems as reasons why they struggle to enjoy their lives. While as Christians we understand that we should live with eternity in mind, we read in 1 Peter 3:10-11, “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.” Did you catch what Peter wrote? In these verses we read the formula to be able to enjoy our lives.
Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter wrote that first of all we need to refrain or keep our tongues from evil, specifically from speaking guile. This has the idea of deceitful or hurtful speech designed to tear other’s down. How many times in our lives have we brought trouble into our lives by saying something about someone else that we shouldn’t have. Maybe they were intended to hear it, maybe not, but either way what stress or problems we brought on ourselves. Peter then says we should eschew or turn away from evil but instead do good and seek after peace. Quite simply, living a good and godly lives will result in us having a much more enjoyable life. Problem free? Absolutely not, but instead the ability to enjoy the life God has given to us to the fullest.
In contrast, our reading today points out the truth of these verses from the opposite perspective. In Numbers 25 we read that the children of Israel “began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.” Obviously this is an example of NOT turning away from evil or pursuing after goodness. And what do we read was the result of this? Verse 5 reads, “And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baalpeor.” So instead of enjoying the blessings of living a good and godly life, the sin of the Israelites resulted in the premature death of these idolators. As Proverbs 13:15 says, “The way of the transgressor is hard.”