Rabbi Schneider - Commands for Living Right
I've got a beautiful word for you today, beloved ones, from 1 Peter chapter 2 verse 17. I'm going to read the whole verse, and then we'll take it apart. "Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king". Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, and honor the king. This is the Word of God.
1. Honor all people: we should just treat people with dignity and respect. Human beings are created in God's image, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. It's a culture today that it's so jaded, it's unpleasant often. As I was flying on an airplane yesterday, I noticed, if you say "Hello" to the person next to you on the airplane, you ask them one question, "Oh, what are you reading? What's the book you're reading about"? They don't want to talk to you, they act like you're insulting them or inferior even for asking them a question. It's a society today that is described in the scriptures, that in the end times people's love will grow cold. We're living in that time, but the Lord says: honor all people, treat people with love and dignity.
2. And then he says, "Love the brotherhood". Especially love those of my household of faith. This is not something that is necessarily natural for us to do emotionally, or temperamentally. We're commanded to love the brotherhood, to show interest in people, to encourage them, to bless them. To not just be concerned about ourselves as individuals, but to come out of ourselves to love the brotherhood, to bless them, to pray for them, to wish goodness towards them.
3. Fear God. Not just respect him, not just being of him, "Yes, respect would be enough", but fear of, my friend. Jesus said: fear the one that's able to destroy both soul and body in hell. He wasn't talking just about awe, he was talking about fearing God. I've got news for you today, beloved ones: the church is by and large lost the fear of God. The fear of God converts the soul, and cleanses us. Yes, God is love, but fearing God is not in contradiction to loving God.
4. And then finally we read in 1 Peter 2:17, "Honor the king". Give respect to those whom respect is due. We live in a society today, no one wants to respect anybody, no one wants to honor anybody else. No, beloved, let's walk as those that have been trained by the Lord.