Perfect Peace Isaiah 26:3

One of my favourite jokes of all time comes Disney’s Musical, “The Lion King.” It stars
Simba the young lion born to be the Lion King and his friends Pumba the Warthog and Timon the Meercat.
One day Simba was unhappy and grouchy and depressed.
“What’s eating him?” Pumba asked.
“Nothing,” Timon replied. “He’s on top of the food chain!”
There is this assumption that people who are “on top” will have a comfortable safe easy life. In reality the opposite is often the case. So many people are struggling to “get on top” and their lives seem more pressured and stressful because of that. All kinds of things can put pressure on people. Job, family, health, grief, anxiety, fear. What very many people, even Christians, are desperately longing for in their lives is peace. Contentment. No worries.
And this is where these marvellous verses from Isaiah 26 are such a comfort and a blessing
NIV 3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. 4 Trust in the LORD for ever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.
GNB 3 You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you. 4 Trust in the LORD for ever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. (GNB)
Of all the translations I find the old RSV the most inspiring.
You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is fixed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 (RSV)
We’ve talked about peace recently in our series on Isaiah and in our Remembrance Day service. We have said that in the Bible peace doesn’t just mean the absence of war or conflict. The Hebrew word for peace, shalom is a very positive concept of calm, tranquillity, serenity, harmony, reconciliation, wholeness, completeness, well-being. And our verse shows us how we can experience God’s kind of peace any time, any place, anywhere.
You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is fixed on you, because he trusts in you.
The rest of the passage explains to us what it means to fix our minds on God and trust in him.
Our peace comes FROM God and THROUGH God, and not apart from God
It is an integral part of the salvation God gives to His people
We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts.

Isaiah 12 2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.
The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defence; he has become my salvation.’
3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
So peace comes to us as part of God’s salvation.
Peace comes as we put our trust in God
2 Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith.

3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

4 Trust in the LORD for ever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.

It is all about trust. All about exercising faith in God. We only experience God’s peace in the midst of the storms in life when we actively and consciously put our trust in God! Faith is not just a continuous state of believing in God. Faith is a conscious action when we commit our situation to God and trust in his help and protection.
PSALM 46 1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

God our Rock only gives us peace when we consciously go to him as our refuge. He is only our safe hiding place when we seek our protection from him. God doesn’t promise to take all the storms of life away, in the way that Jesus did when he calmed the storm on the sea of Galilee. But God does promise to take the storm away in our hearts, and bring us peace in our hearts, as we put our trust in Him even while the storm is raging.
Peace comes from FIXING our minds on God
You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is fixed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 (RSV)
3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (New Living Translation)

Noone should not imagine that God’s peace will fill their hearts if they are going through life ignoring him. His peace comes to those who fix their minds on him. NOT just in the times of trouble, but all through life. God wants to be our constant companion through all the scenes of life, not just our safety net and lifebelt when the going gets tough. His peace is for all whose thoughts are fixed on you. All the time!

Peace comes as we obey God and follow His laws
7 The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.
8 Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you;

Isaiah makes the opposite point more than once. There is no peace for the wicked!

Isaiah 48:22 AND Isaiah 57:21 `There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.”

Nobody can expect to be experiencing God’s peace when they are ignoring him or breaking his laws all the time. Peace comes to those who are living in righteousness and justice.
ISAIAH 32 16 Justice will dwell in the desert and righteousness live in the fertile field.
17 The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.
18 My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.

Peace comes to those who seek God’s glory
8b your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.

God blesses us with his peace so that we can glorify him, not just to give us a cushy easy life.

God’s peace comes to those who set their hearts on God
9 My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you.

Again, it is those whose minds are fixed on God, who fix all their thoughts on Him, who receive his peace.

Peace comes from God, not our own efforts
12 LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us.

ISAIAH 30 15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.
16 You said, “No, we will flee on horses.” Therefore you will flee!
You said, “We will ride off on swift horses.” Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
17 A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away,
till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.’

We don’t experience God’s peace by solving our problems in our own strength. God’s peace only comes as we see God at work. As we open our lives to God in repentance and rest, in quietness and strength. Like the Israelites when they came to cross the Red Sea.

EXODUS 14 13 Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never vsee again. 14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.’
Not just at the Red Sea. There were many occasions in Joshua’s time as the Israelites took possession of the promised land, when we read that God fought the battles for Israel.

Joshua 10 12 On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel:
“O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”
13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,
as it is written in the Book of Jashar.
The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a man. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel!

Similarly times in David’s lifetime, where we read, “the Lord will fight for you”. We saw David’s Testimony in Psalm 37

PSALM 37 3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Our peace comes as we allow space for God to fight our battles for us, and as we put our trust in him to save us.

We receive God’s peace through prayer
3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (New Living Translation)

Philippians 4 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Paul is not saying, “Whatever your problems, one quick prayer and everything will be alright.” It is an invitation to continuous prayer, to pray without ceasing! Paul is saying “keep on presenting your requests to God”. And as you keep on bringing your situation to God in prayer, God will keep on meeting your needs and so you will continue to experience that peace which passes all understanding, which only God can give.
We all need to make time and space in our frenetic overcrowded lives to be in God’s presence and receive his peace, to set aside our busyness and noise to meet God in the silence. That is what this week’s chapter in Richard Foster’s book, The Prayer of Rest, is all about.
ISAIAH 55 12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
BUT how can we come to know this peace?
6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts.
We come to know God’s peace through prayer.
Prayer which Saint Francis of Assisi (C. 1181–1226) definitely did write says this.
“O God, Creator of mankind, I do not aspire to comprehend you or your creation, nor to understand pain or suffering. I aspire only to relieve the pain and suffering of others, and I trust in doing so I may understand more clearly your nature, that you are the Father of all mankind, and that the hairs of my head are numbered.”

3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
4 Trust in the LORD for ever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.

You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is fixed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 (RSV)

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