October 01, 2018


1 Peter 1:13-21

You know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed . . . but with the precious blood of Christ. . . .

—  1 Peter 1:18-19

During the Great Depression in the 1930s, when many people didn’t know where their next meal was coming from, they sometimes had to bring their last valuable possession (perhaps a memento from their parents) to get cash at a pawn shop. They would receive a pawn ticket as a voucher, and then, later, if they could scrape together enough money, they could redeem their precious item, buying it back “out of hock.”

As far as I know, there were no pawn shops in Bible times. But the Bible tells of people who fell into poverty and had to sell the family farm, or sell themselves into service, and they desperately needed a way out. Often it was up to a relative to redeem them (see Leviticus 25:25-55).

My wife’s grandmother used to tell us of destitute people who would knock on her door, begging for something to eat. Thank God, she had enough flour to bake a few extra loaves of bread each week to give to people who were hungry.

It is not just sentimentality to say that people who have never felt the pinch of poverty are sometimes poorer for their constant comfort. Rich or poor, we are all, in a sense, “in hock.” Our plight is desperate until we knock on God’s door and beg for his mercy. There we will find redemption. We will find that Jesus, our Redeemer, bought us back, at the cost of his precious blood, by dying on the cross.

How strangely wonderful it is, Lord, to think that we have been redeemed by your blood. Thank you that we belong to you. Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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