August 12, 2015

Perfect Peace

Isaiah 25:1–26:21, Luke 9:1–27, Job 6:1–13

Today’s OT reading includes one of my favorite verses: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)

What does “perfect peace” look like? The Bible is filled with descriptions, so these selections from Luke, Job, and here in Isaiah offer only a glimpse. It is an internal peace, sometimes based on circumstances, sometimes not, but always grounded in the Lord Jesus Christ whom I trust with my death and my life. He is my peace.

“O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.” (Isaiah 25:1) Perfect peace includes praise based on what God has done and that His plans are dependable.
“You have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat . . . .” (Isaiah 25:4) Perfect peace is being sheltered and cared for by Almighty God.

“On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.” (Isaiah 25:6) “And taking the five loaves and the two fish, (Jesus) looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd (5000 men plus women and children). And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.” (Luke 9:16–17) Perfect peace is knowing God is able to take care of my most basic needs.

“He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 25:8) Perfect peace is knowing I have eternal life and eventually God will make all things right.

“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” (Isaiah 26:4) Perfect peace is having an anchor for life that will never change and the ignorance of those who say He does not exist or is dead cannot change Him.

“O Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works.” (Isaiah 26:12) “And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.” (Luke 9:1–2) Perfect peace is knowing that my life is in His hands, but not only that, I will do all that He wants me to do, for He gives me His power to make it happen and is with me to make it so.

“Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” (Luke 9:20) Perfect peace is knowing without a doubt the divine identity of Jesus Christ.

 “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:23–25) Perfect peace is answering the call of God to lose myself in Him, and knowing that when I do, my life has eternal significance and God will be glorified.

“Oh that I might have my request, and that God would fulfill my hope, that it would please God to crush me, that he would let loose his hand and cut me off! This would be my comfort; I would even exult in pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One. What is my strength, that I should wait? And what is my end, that I should be patient? Is my strength the strength of stones, or is my flesh bronze? Have I any help in me, when resource is driven from me?” (Job 6:8–13) Perfect peace is knowing God is in charge when all of my resources are gone and I have no strength. I might not feel too happy about it, but perfect peace goes beyond being happy. It is that inner sense that the Lord knows what He is doing, even if it hurts.

For all of that, I can say with Isaiah, “My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” (Isaiah 26:9) Perfect peace is trusting God completely.

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