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KEPT BY GOD’S PEACE

KEPT BY GOD’S PEACE

Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace – in peace because they trust in you. 
Trust in the LORD forever, for in the LORD God you have an everlasting rock.
Isaiah 26:3-4

How much would you pay for peace of mind?  You have an idea of what you pay for housing, food, healthcare, utilities, and gasoline, but how much would you pay for peace of mind when you go to bed tonight or wake up in the morning?  By the looks of the billions we spend on sedatives, alcohol, anti-depressants, and escapist entertainment, we likely would spend an arm and leg for a little peace of mind.  

But the Gospel truth is that God offers peace of mind for free!  We see God’s offer of peace in today’s scripture.  Here the prophet Isaiah has put on a prophet’s spectacles to see the coming of Messiah Jesus and the peace He brings with Him.  Isaiah draws upon poetic, symbolic language to describe the people of God like a mighty city with secure walls and gates flung wide open for sinners to enter (vv. 1-2).

It is here we enter today’s text as the Lord promises peace to all who trust in Him.  In the Hebrew text the word “peace” is doubled for emphasis: “…you keep in peace in peace” in order to emphasize the certainty and completeness of “peace” by trusting in the Lord.  The King James Version translates this double-peace as “perfect peace” to express the greatness of God’s peace inward and outward, now and forever.  We might wonder if the apostle Paul had this text before him when he promised peace to suffering Philippian Christians: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). 

Notice that God’s power for keeping in peace is for those who “trust” in Him.   The Hebrew word batach, translated “trust” has the idea of leaning on someone for support (See, for instance, 2 Kings 18:21-22).  This gives insight into the meaning of trusting in the Lord, i.e., leaning on Him for total support in our lives.  As we think about a pandemic that goes on and on, lockdowns that never stop, social unrest, and uncertainty about what comes next, leaning the full weight of our lives onto the Lord brings “peace…peace”!   

But there is more here, as the Lord promises to keep in peace those “of steadfast mind.”   Here again, the Hebrew words are helpful as they have the idea of a “fixed mind” that is stuck on, glued to, settled on God’s faithful love.   That is the peace of mind that will be kept by God to experience God’s own peace in all of life’s ups and downs!

I find it so easy to be blown about the winds of events, tossed by the latest news cycle, shaped by life’s calamities!  But the steadfast mind, glued onto God will experience “peace…peace”!  It is that peace that “surpasses all human understanding” (Philippians 4:7)!

Just think how much people would pay for that!   But it’s free!  It’s grace!  

A fellow traveler,
Tim

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