“Foreboding” perhaps wasn’t the best description.  But definitely a sense of change coming, change that would cause the followers of Jesus to be a bit more alert.  The economy was tanking, corruption was going viral and the highest leadership of the nation fell to the lowest of standards.     Persecution seemed to be lurking in the shadows and perhaps would rear its ugly face openly.  Nero was Emperor and he held no affection for the followers of Christus.

So Peter writes.  He writes as one who has himself walked through scary times and even failed.  But because he did not give up but had pressed on, restored by the resurrected Lord himself, he had something to say.

He identifies himself as the sent out one of Jesus and then writes to those scattered throughout Asia Minor.  It was a scroll passed from one house church gathering to the next.  After identifying himself and his audience, he opens with this:

“[you] 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.”

If you look at the core of this sentence it basically says “chosen…to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood.”

This is… strange.  Chosen for obedience?  Sprinkled with blood?

It could be strange but not for those who would know the Old Testament/Covenant stories.  When Moses was sealing the covenant with the Israelites, he spelled out the commands for them to follow, then took blood and sprinkled the people (Ex 24).  The blood and the commands both were signs of the covenant (Heb 9:19-21).  All covenants have expectations and a loss of blood.  (Think marriage and the marriage night with a virgin).

Chosen for covenant.  Western culture doesn’t always get the concept of covenant.  Covenant is a binding union.  Not a contract.  It’s secure and irrevocable.  Covenant was very appropriate for the time.

Soon the Christians would watch as their children, friends and experience for themselves what it was like to be hated by the masses, and tortured by the authorities.  Peter needed to prepare them.  And in the same breath he says hello he reminded them that God’s people were a covenant people–a people chosen to be in covenant with God.  This security, this eternally binding and inseparable union was to be the foundation for any and every trial that they were to face.

It wasn’t the promise of deliverance from trials.  It wasn’t the promise from deliverance from anything of this earth.  But it was the promise of Himself.   Forever.  Eternally.