Scattered, Smothered and Covered


No doubt the title of this post is a familiar phrase to those who have eaten a the Waffle House chain of restaurants. For those who do not know, the Waffle House uses the phrase Scattered, Smothered and Covered to describe one way that hash browns can be prepared. Scattered conveys that the potatoes are thinly sliced and spread out. Smothered tells us that the potatoes are covered in sautéed onions. Covered describes that the potatoes and onions are covered with cheese. It might sound delicious to you, but I don’t like hash browns, so why the reference.

As I began reading 1 Peter 1 this morning to hear the voice of God, He spoke quickly. In fact, I did not make it off the first verse before I had the foundation of today’s post. In previous posts, I have shared that God can reveal infinite truths from the same passage. The bible says the Word of God is living and active. While definitely inerrant, infallible and immutable, the Word of God is still dynamic. The Word of God is not static in the sense that the same meaning is gained from reading the same passage every time. God uses His Word to speak to where we are in all of our being. To evidence this fact, I have read this passage before. I never thought about Scattered, Smothered and Covered.

1 Peter 1 begins with the following texts

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. (NIV)

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:  Grace to you and peace be multiplied. (NKJV)

In relation to the text, Scattered, Smothered and Covered means something totally different from what Waffle House intended. Scattered refers to the scattering of the believers, God’s elect, due to persecution. This notion originally started in Jerusalem when the followers of Jesus were scattered because of the persecution of the Jewish followers of Jesus. Now speaking to Gentiles believers, Peter acknowledges that they too share in the faith of Christ being scattered throughout region he references. Many have proposed that Peter was in Rome when he wrote this letter because of the references to Babylon. For ages, many have agreed that Nero, attempting to prevent a revolt of the people of Rome for supposing he burned the city, blamed Christians for starting the fire. To add validity to his accusation, Nero began a series of persecutions to the believers of Christ.

Of the Christians in Rome at that time, Steadman wrote many “were dipped in tar and burned as torches to light the gardens of Nero when he threw an outdoor party. They were tied to his chariot and dragged through the streets of Rome until they were dead. They were thrown to the lions; they were tied up in leather bags and thrown into water so that when the leather bags shrank, the Christians were squeezed to death. In a hundred other delicate ways, Nero sought to impress upon them the folly of being Christians. Now it was during this time of the outbreak of the persecution of Christians in Rome that the apostle Peter wrote this letter. And he wrote it, most scholars believe, in Rome to “the exiles,” he says, or “the strangers in dispersion:”

Believers were scattered because of persecutions. I am not sure why you may be experiencing some hardship, trial or persecution, but God has always used the spreading of His people to spread His Word, His Way, His Jesus. God takes those things that change people’s local to proclaim who He is. Peter wrote this letter to God’s elect, those chosen by God to receive salvation, to encourage them in their hard times. Peter could certainly identify with persecution. He saw it firsthand with Jesus’ crucifixion then with the followers of Christ in Jerusalem. He was told of his own hardship and ultimate persecution in John 21:19. Nevertheless, Peter persevered. Now, he is telling other believers to persevere the scattering.

While Smothered and Covered are not explicitly stated in this text, it is implied. Believers are smothered by the Spirit of God. It is the Spirit of God who sanctifies us in conjunction the Word of God. Of the believer in Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 1 says “who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” The Spirit of God is to extinguish our own sinfulness along with our faith in Christ to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. Through our faith in Christ, it is the Spirit of God who uses the Word of God to suffocate, suppress and to extinguish the fire of sin in our lives. He Himself becomes the fire from which our lives now burn.

Similarly for covered, the text also says “sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” For the believer, we are Covered by the blood of Jesus. We know that it is by the blood of Jesus that we have been brought near to God and have confidence to enter in the Most Holy Place to fellowship with God. Woven in scripture is the pairing of blood and peace. It is Jesus blood that covers the believer imputing His righteousness and supplying His peace to him who believes in Jesus. Listen to Hebrews 1320 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Finally, Revelation tells us “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

As a believer, you may be going through a difficult time. You may have been relocated either physically or ideologically, but God’s plan is for you to share Jesus where you are. It is through Jesus’ humiliation, persecution and suffering that we are free. Our lives will conform to Christ’s. Considering all that has been said, I trust that you too will be Scattered, Smothered and Covered. Trust Jesus, the Son of God, for salvation, and you will be Scattered, Smothered and Covered to the glory of God.

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