Introduction: Some people are more frequently surprised than
others. Cautious people consider the future and only get
surprised occasionally. Careless people are constantly being
surprised because they do not think ahead. Everyone gets
surprised at some point. Our study this week is about being
surprised by calamities. Is there a way to prepare for
being surprised? Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and
learn more!

I. The Surprise

A. Read 1 Peter 4:12. What do you think Peter wants
us to do to avoid being surprised by a “fiery
trial?” (He is warning us. If you are warned, you
are less likely to be surprised.)

1. Peter tells us that fiery trials are not
“something strange.” We studied Psalms 23
last week which told us (Ps. 23:6) that
“goodness and mercy shall follow [us] all the
days of [our lives].” Why wouldn’t we be
surprised at fiery trials?

B. Read 1 Peter 4:13-14. Do these verses provide an
answer to the question of surprise? (Verse 14
tells us that if “the Spirit of glory and of God
rests” on us, insults are to be expected.)

1. Is there any benefit to going through a trial?
(Verse 13 assures us that if we share the
suffering of Jesus, we will rejoice when He
comes in power.)

C. Peter starts this chapter out with an answer to
the question of why we should not be surprised at
suffering. Read 1 Peter 4:1-2. Why should we not
be surprised? (Jesus suffered and we should adopt
His point of view on suffering. The commentaries I
looked at do not agree with me, but I think these
verses also tell us that when we move away from
“human passions” we can expect more suffering.)

D. Read 1 Peter 4:3-4. What reason do we find here
for being “maligned?” (When we leave our old
friends who live a debauched life, they will say
bad things about us.)

II. No Surprise

A. Read 1 Peter 4:15. What else causes suffering?
(Doing evil. Meddling in the business of others.
Killing and stealing.)

1. Is this how you normally look at suffering,
that it follows from disobedience? (I often
write that the Ten Commandments were given to
make our lives better. They, Psalms 23:2, lead
us to “green pastures” and “still waters.”)

B. Read 1 Peter 4:16-18. How will our suffering
compare to those who suffer for doing evil? (The
suggestion here is that everyone suffers, but the
evil suffer more due to their evildoing.)

1. When you face a fiery trial, what is the first
thing you should do? (Contemplate why you are
suffering. Is it because you did something
wrong, or because you were faithful to God?)

C. Read Matthew 10:14-15. If you were suffering at
work because you tried to convert co-workers,
would you conclude that you were suffering for
doing good? (This text in Matthew is
instructional. It tells us that in our
evangelistic efforts we should not keep badgering
people. Share the gospel and if they will not
accept it, “shake the dust from your feet” and
move on.)

D. Read 1 Peter 5:1-3. Is this a universal principle,
that even when we think we are suffering for
following Jesus, we need to look closely to be
sure we are not the cause of our suffering? (This
text tells us that even the shepherd of the flock
can make mistakes in leadership.)

III. Our Enemy

A. Read 1 Peter 5:8. Who is the author of our
suffering? (Satan.)

1. Have you heard people blame God for the
suffering in this world?

2. Would you say that Satan is the universal
cause of suffering? (We suffer because Satan
is attacking us, or we have done the wrong
thing (also attributable to Satan), or someone
else has done the wrong thing (again,
attributable to Satan.)

B. Read 1 Peter 5:9. How would you recommend that we
resist Satan? This tells us to remain firm in our
faith, but how would you apply your faith to
resist Satan?

C. Read 1 Peter 5:10. Is this the key to a “firm
faith” resistance of Satan? (“Faith” must mean
faith in God. Our faith in God tells us that our
suffering is only temporary. God will make it all
right in heaven, if not before.)

D. Read 1 Peter 5:11. What point is being made in
this verse? (God is in charge. He has the

E. Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-9. Who is responsible for
Paul’s “thorn?” (He says Satan is responsible.)

1. Why didn’t God take this thorn away since He
is in charge? (Paul says that it helped him
resist conceit and that the power of God “is
made perfect in weakness.”)

a. What does this teach us about the
relationship between Satan and God when
it comes to suffering? (Satan is
responsible, not God. But, God is in
authority and He sometimes allows
suffering for reasons that He

IV. God’s Wrath

A. Read Romans 1:18. Wait a minute! We just discussed
that suffering comes from Satan, not from God. Do
Peter and Paul (author of Romans) disagree?

1. What kind of people are feeling the wrath of
God? (Those who suppress the truth.)

B. Read Romans 1:21-25. How is God’s wrath released?
(These verses tell us that the sinner rejects
God’s truth, his thinking becomes clouded, and God
gives sinners up to “the lusts of their hearts.”)

1. Is this like God striking someone with a
disease? (Not at all. This is the person
striking himself – and God permits it. God
lets the person do what he pleases.)

C. Read Romans 1:23 and Romans 1:26-27. Notice the
ordering of the problem. Humans first reject the
authority of God and substitute the authority of
something humans created. After they reject God’s
authority, they then reject His ordering for sex.
They trade “natural relations” for homosexual
relations. Have you seen this progression in the
lives of people you know?

1. Today some argue that Paul is writing about
adult men having sex with boys, not about
homosexual relationships of either gender. How
does that illustrate the ordering of the
problem we just discussed? (The authority of
God goes back to Eden, where God created
marriage as a life-long relationship between a
man and woman who “become one flesh.” See
Genesis chapter 2. Once you reject the
authority of God, you are free to make
arguments that conflict with the plain text of

D. Read Jeremiah 9:23-24. How important is
understanding God? (This says that we should
“understand and know” God.)

1. What should we understand about God? (That He
“practices steadfast love, justice, and
righteousness in the earth.”)

a. What does it mean for God to practice

E. Read Jeremiah 9:25-26. Do you understand this to
mean something more than God merely letting humans
suffer the consequences of their own decisions?
(It says that God “will punish” those who merely
make an outward claim of following Him. That
sounds like affirmative action on God’s part.)

F. Read Jeremiah 9:5-7. This text speaks of refining
God’s people. What kind of people are being
described as needing refining? (It is very
difficult to tell that they are God’s people. They
“weary themselves committing iniquity,” they heap
“oppression upon oppression.” These are bad
people. These are not people who are trying to
follow God and need a little “refining.”)

G. Friend, this study shows that we all are subject
to calamities. Satan is the author of tragedy, and
we bring calamity on ourselves by choosing to
follow Satan’s path. But, even those who follow
Jesus can experience suffering. God promises that
our suffering will be temporary, and that in the
end He will make it right. Will you choose today
to limit your suffering, and follow Jesus?

V. Next week: The Birdcage.

Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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Holy Spirit as you study.