THOUGHTS FROM ISAIAH

PEACE

In Isaiah 26:3 we read:

‘You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.’

This peace is grounded in the absolute trustworthiness of God:

‘Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal’ [verse 4].

As God tells us later in Isaiah, he, and he alone, is the place of safety and security:

‘I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no saviour’ [43:11].

‘You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?
No, there is no other Rock; I know not one’ [44:8].

This peace is grounded not only in the absolute trustworthiness of God, but also in the fact that it is God who establishes peace:

‘We have a strong city;
God makes salvation its walls and ramparts’ [26:1].

‘LORD, you establish peace for us …’ [26:12].

This peace established by God is peace at the deepest and highest and innermost level. It is a peace with God that consists in the removal of all that causes division and alienation between God and man, a peace that consists in the removal of God’s just wrath. God, in an incredible action of incomprehensible love and amazing grace, sent his Son to do away with the enmity and establish this peace:

‘… the punishment that brought us peace was upon him’ [Isaiah 53:5].

‘… we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ … we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son’ [Romans 5:1,10].

‘God was pleased … through him to reconcile to himself all things … by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross’ [Colossians 1:19,20].

This perfect peace of those who trust in God includes the knowledge that death is not the end, that beyond physical death is everlasting joy for those who belong to God:

‘But your dead will live; their bodies will rise.
You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy.
Your dew is like the dew of the morning,
the earth will give birth to her dead’ [Isaiah 26:19].

‘ … God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him … the Lord himself will come down … and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive … will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord … and so we will be with the Lord forever …’ [1Thessalonians 4:14-17].

This peace of God’s people remains in place during the final judgment. On that great day, described in part by Isaiah in 26:21 and 27:1, those secure in God’s salvation are at peace. Isaiah expresses this peace in a few simple, figurative words:

‘Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you;
hide yourselves a little while until his wrath has passed by’ [26:20].

And the apostle John describes it as utter confidence on the day of judgment:

‘In this way love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment …there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment’ [1John 4:17,18].

This is the perfect peace of the redeemed, generated and guaranteed by the perfect love of God.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2014