You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! 4 Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.
Isaiah ministered during a time of great difficulty, when the northern kingdom of Israel had been carried into captivity, 722 B.C., and the kingdom of Judah in the south was in the middle of idolatry and evil. While the kingdom of Assyria posed a major threat, the kingdom of Babylon was gaining power and would replace Assyria as the dominant threat. Living in these turbulent times created fear and questions about their lot in life. What would become of the promises of God? How could His chosen people survive, and must the remnant of the righteous also suffer with the nation that for all purposes was pagan? Yet in the midst of sin the message that came was one of salvation, and the messenger bringing the message of salvation was the prophet Isaiah, whose name means “salvation of Yahweh”. Isaiah, son of Amoz ministry spanned the reigns of 4 kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. He probably ministered for over 60 years trying to bring the nation back to God. Even as the people of God were careening down a pagan path that led to pain, God promised that He would show them the way to peace. Isaiah reminds us that the path to peace involves a:
- Powerful God
Isaiah points first to God’s power, reminding us that peace starts with God not people. People have been perusing man made peace for centuries. Swiss-born Frenchman Gustave Valbert’s reported that “From the year 1496 B.C. to A.D. 1861 in 3358 years there were 227 years of peace and 3,130 years of war, or 13 years of war to every year of peace. Within the last three centuries, there have been 286 wars just in Europe. He added that from the year 1500 B.C. to A.D. 1860 there were more than 8000 treaties of peace meant to remain in force forever, yet the average time they remained in force was two years.” World War I was called the “war to end all wars” but less than 25 years later the world was once again engulfed in the Second World War. Even as World War II ended another war began, the Cold War, involving an arms race and military standoff between the world’s superpowers that brought mankind to the brink of annihilation. Today people are still seeking after people peace, like a proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s not that people haven’t tried create peace it’s that people power can’t produce a perfect peace. Isaiah reminds us of three powerful truths in three words, “You” reminds us of God’s presence, “will” reminds us of His power in the present, “Keep” reminding us of how permanent His power is. We can have God’s powerful presence right now in the midst of the pain and problems, a permanent power that can preserve and protect. Are you looking to God for peace or people?
- Purposed Mind
Our mind, the processor of human emotions, gathers billions of bits of sensory data every second, telling us how to feel, think, and react. The mind can be deceived as well as be deceptive, so Isaiah tells us to put our trust in the Father and His faithfulness now and in the future. The key to unlocking peace is that our mind must be stayed upon the Lord not our current circumstances. This means to fix our focus, in Isaiah 22:23 God speaking of Eliakim said, “He will bring honor to his family name, for I will drive him firmly in place like a nail in the wall.” To be stayed on the Lord means that we become like a nail fastened in a sure place, secure in the Savior. What are you fixing your focus on? In Romans 8:38-39 the Apostle Paul says, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Paul lived in perfect peace because his mind was stayed upon Jesus Christ not because life was easy. He was beaten with rods, stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked, imprisoned for preaching the gospel and persecuted, but through it all he had perfect peace. Is your life rooted in the Redeemer, are you grounded in God’s goodness despite the difficulties? Are you firmly persuaded that nothing can separate you from God’s peace and protection? Perfect Peace doesn’t mean that you won’t face trials, tests, persecutions and maybe even death for preaching Christ. It means that in the midst of it all, and through it all, you will have a peace that protects because you have His powerful presence in your life. His peace in your life will enable you to face fear and come out the victor not the victim. So keep your mind stayed upon the Lord, don’t allow Satan to distract you from serving the Savior, and smile in spite of the situation for we win. When our minds are stayed on this world instead of the One who made it we will be driven by the winds of worry, tempted to turn from the Savior to trust in self. You’re provider Jehovah Jireh, “The LORD who Provides” is the same God who provided Abraham the ram to be sacrificed in the place of Isaac. He has provided us with a substitute, our Savior Jesus Christ, who was sacrificed for our sin. If He has met our greatest need will He not also meet our lest? We have a faithful Father, Jehovah Jireh, who we can trust that never fails to provide for our every need. Is your mind stayed on the Lord or the things of this life?
- Perfect peace
This is not partial peace but perfect peace, a complete peace that comes from Christ, the Prince of Peace. A peace that is both inward with God and outward toward men. This is not a false fare weather peace that is easily shattered, but a rock solid peace that no power on earth can shake. We have a peace that is complete and constant, unshakable and everlasting for we know that our God has everything under control despite the chaos. We have a peace that is eternal not transitory. We don’t have to pretend to be at peace because our provider and protector by His very presence wraps us in His perfect peace. In 2 Samuel 22:3-14 David wrote these words to describe the deliverance of God from the hand of Saul, the one who sought to kill him: 3 my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. 4 I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. 5 “The waves of death overwhelmed me; floods of destruction swept over me. 6 The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. 7 But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I cried to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry reached his ears. 8 “Then the earth quaked and trembled. The foundations of the heavens shook; they quaked because of his anger. 9 Smoke poured from his nostrils; fierce flames leaped from his mouth. Glowing coals blazed forth from him. 10 He opened the heavens and came down; dark storm clouds were beneath his feet. 11 Mounted on a mighty angelic being, he flew, soaring on the wings of the wind. 12 He shrouded himself in darkness, veiling his approach with dense rain clouds. 13 A great brightness shone around him, and burning coals blazed forth. 14 The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.” In the midst of danger and despair the only thing that made a difference in David’s life was the presence of God. How would your life be different if you lived by faith instead of feeling? Do you have an inward peace that nothing can shake because you know that your Father in Heaven is walking with and watching over you?