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The Simplicity Series #8

Peace in the Midst of the Storm

 
 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever …” ISA 26:3-4a
 
This passage is a favorite of believers around the world. Many have drawn strength from it in times of trouble and trial. However, few have experienced this “perfect peace” for prolonged periods of time. How many Christians have you known whose lives reflected perfect peace? The simple reason such peace is uncommon among us, is that our minds are not “stayed” on our heavenly Father and our resurrected Savior.
 
The Source of Peace
 
The key word in this passage is “You”—repeated three times. It is the beginning, the middle, and the end of verse 3. The focus is the God of Israel, “YAH, the LORD” (ISA 26:4); but in looking back in the context, it is the incarnate Savior (read ISA 25:8-9) who destroys death and saves those who trust in Him. “Behold, this is our God … we have waited for Him [Jesus Christ]; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation” (ISA 25:9).
 
There can be no lasting peace for those who turn away from the invitation of the Savior to enter into His “rest” (MAT 11:28-29; ISA 11:10; ISA 28:12). True and lasting peace of heart and mind begins with one’s entrance into the spiritual “rest” of the assurance of eternal life (HEB 4:3). This rest results from the “peace with God” that is ours through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross (ROM 5:1-2). Jesus Christ gives us a “face” to focus on, as the human expression of the Father (JOH 15:9; HEB 1:3). He is the “You” who is the focus of our trust, and the keeper of our peace.
 
As He said to His disciples in the Upper Room, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid … In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (JOH 14:27; JOH 16:33).
 
The Scope of Peace
 
The prophet says, here, it is “perfect peace.” The Hebrew word shalom speaks of the peace that God alone can give. It is “perfect” because it comes from a perfect source having endless supply. From the divine perspective, there can be no partial peace. Either peace reigns in the soul, or there is some anxiety or worry that has intruded, disrupting the peace.
 
The Apostle Paul exhorts us to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (PHI 4:6). Take note that the “nothing” is the exclusion from the mind of the “everything” that is included in prayer. This prayer involves both requests (“supplication”) and submission (“thanksgiving”) for whatever God chooses to give in response to our prayers. It is perfect trust in His perfect wisdom and provision that results in “perfect peace.” As Paul goes on to say, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (PHI 4:7). In effect, the peace which belongs to God alone will set up a garrison—a mighty fortress—around the soul of the trusting believer.
 
The Mechanics of Peace
 
The two key verbs of this passage are coterminous—that is, they have the same boundaries of scope and time. In other words, while the mind is “stayed” on the Savior, He “will keep” the soul in “perfect peace.” The verb “stayed” comes from a root word meaning “to rest upon,” and the word “keep” means “to guard or keep in a safe or secret place.” The word “trust” further defines “stayed,” and is the Hebrew word for “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1PE 5:7).
 
David pictured it this way, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (PSA 91:1). This is a Hebrew parallelism, expressing the same thought in two ways. To [dwell] in the secret place” occurs at the same time that we “abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” This is the very point Jesus was making when He spoke of “abiding” in Him (JOH 6:56; JOH 8:31-32; JOH 15:4-11).
 
Our part in the equation is to keep the mind “stayed” on Him through abiding faith. His part is to “keep,” or guard the soul, in “perfect peace.” We can say, without any doubt, that perfect trust results in “perfect peace.” If my soul is lacking peace, it is because my mind is deficient in trusting in the faithfulness of God, who gave His own Son on my behalf. Whenever His face is obscured by “the cares of this world” (MAT 13:22), peace is lost and productivity ceases. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him …” (HEB 11:6).
 
The Critical Question
 
In the Gospel of Luke (LUK 8:22-25), we read the story of Jesus and the disciples caught up in a violent storm on the Lake of Galilee. The Lord has expressed His intention to “cross over to the other side of the lake.” Then, wearied from His labors, He falls asleep. As the tempest raged and the boat was filling with water, the disciples concluded, “we are perishing,” as they frantically awakened Him.
 
After He had rebuked the wind and the waves, He asked the disciples a penetrating question. It is the question that He also asks us when we give in to anxiety, fretfulness, and worry: “Where is your faith?” Fear and faith cannot reside in the same soul, at the same time. No man can serve two masters.
 
When Jesus taught the disciples not to be anxious about food or clothing (MAT 6:31-32), His solution was to trust in the heavenly Father, who not only knows our needs, but cares for us and will provide those needs. His solution echoed the words of the prophet Isaiah, when He said:
 
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” MAT 6:33
 
God is faithful to guard the soul that trusts in Him. The answer to the question: “Where is my peace?” is found in the question: “Where is my faith?” Let every soul rest assured that He will guard you in peace as long as your trust abides in Him.
 
Gene
 
 
 
 

 

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