Posted by: rcottrill | August 23, 2009

Lord’s Day Meditation – Perfect Peace

You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because He trusts in You (Isa. 26:3).

I wonder if we think we can accomplish more for the Lord when we are operating at a constant level of high energy and stress. Perhaps there are times when adrenalin kicks in, and we do more than we thought possible. But God never intended that we operate hour after hour, day after day like that. Not only does fruit of such frenetic labours tend to be temporal, and temporary. It may well shorten our lives, and our days of effective ministry! Soul peace is much more productive in the long run, and more conducive to our own spiritual development.

“Perfect peace” is expressed in the original Hebrew of our text as peace peace–a peaceful peace. The same construction is found in Isa. 57:19-21, where a contrast is made with the wicked who have no real and abiding peace. Thus the Bible teaches that true and lasting peace is found in a right relationship with God, and in following the paths of righteousness.

In the context, Isaiah 26:3 is a promise of millennial blessing for Israel, to be fulfilled when Christ comes back again to take up His earthly reign. It has to do with the nation’s assurance of the Lord’s protection of Zion (vs. 1-4). In that day, when the Prince of Peace reigns (cf. Isa. 9:6-7), Israel will be safe from her enemies and enjoy a pervasive sense of tranquility and rest.

Nevertheless, the promise directed to them is rooted in universal principles. It can be applied currently, as well as prophetically, personally, as well as nationally. There are related promises in both Old Testament and New. Clear assurances to all believers that God is in control, and that He will unfailingly work out His good purposes for us (Ps. 138:8; Prov. 3:5-6; Rom. 8:28; Phil. 1:6; 4:6-7). When we become distressed over circumstances, we need to turn to such passages again and meditate on them.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7). We can utterly trust in God’s will to do us good, His wisdom to identify that good, and His work to bring it about. The one who rests His mind on these things will find that the Lord fortifies and garrisons his thoughts with a new fullness of peace.

Think of the tranquil scene in Lk. 8:35. After the demoniac of Gadara is delivered by Christ, he is found at the feet of the Master, clothed, and in his right mind. Does this not suggest that we are more teachable, more ready and able to receive what God has for us, when we are not in a turmoil? John Greenleaf Whittier wrote a hymn about that in 1887. Actually, it was created out of the concluding stanzas of his longer poem, “The Brewing of Soma.”

The poem tells of some heathen priests who made their way into the forest, where they drank a powerful brew called soma. It produced what Whittier called “a frenzy, a sacred madness.” Then, the priests ranted and raved in their drugged state in an attempt to somehow contact and experience their god. But fellowship with the true God is not gained by such devices. As the poet’s hymn puts it:

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways!
Reclothe us in our rightful mind;
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard,
Beside the Syrian sea,
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word,
Rise up and follow Thee.

Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.


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