You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord for ever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
Perfect peace…sounds too good to be true? How on earth do we obtain this perfect peace? Is it by living in a state of oblivious denial to the troubles and problems around us? Or by striving to sort out everything in our lives until we finally reach a place of contentment?
No, Isaiah declares that the key to being ‘kept’ in perfect peace, is to have a mind that is fully trusting in God. Our minds are very important – how we think strongly governs how we feel and behave. And Isaiah knows that the only way that it is possible to have peace in this world is to centre our thoughts on the One who is rock-solid, and place our trust in his goodness, his provision and his love. Like the man who built his house on the rock in Jesus’ parable, we can stand against the storms of life if we have a firm foundation.
Paul urges the Philippian church to talk to God about every situation, concern and need:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7
This perfect peace, which only God can supply, defies all human reasoning and understanding. It is available to all of us, if we will take up God’s free offer of a personal and living relationship with him.
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:3-5
Meditate on this incredible description of Jesus in Isaiah this weekend. Bring your griefs and sorrows to Him; let his wounds heal yours. Praise Him that his sufferings have paid for your sin.
But [Jesus] answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God'” Matthew 4:4
In the face of temptation by the devil to use his divine power to satisfy his physical hunger, Jesus responds with this quotation from Deuteronomy 8:3. In the original context, Moses was explaining to the people of Israel that God let them hunger in the desert before providing daily manna for them. This was to teach them that they needed to learn to depend on God for his daily provision. Jesus is affirming his confidence in his father, and his commitment to obeying him.
God knows that we need physical food, and we are to ask him and thank him for our ‘daily bread’. But physical food alone cannot give us real life. Real life comes from hearing, reading, understanding and obeying the word of God.
“Let the word of God dwell in you richly.” Colosians 3:16
We need to dwell in Him. That means a continual, deliberate choosing. Are you getting your spiritual food today or are you malnourished? He delights to feed you!
Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labour on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2