Isaiah 26:3, 4; John 14:27
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
I once preached a sermon called “Pray For Whirled Peas!” I was not being sacrilegious, I was making a point: for Jesus said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” In this old world we will have tribulation, trouble, persecution, heart ache, sorrow, and tears – not all the time, but we will have our share, especially as Christians! Why is that?
- I John 5:19 (International Standard Version) – “We know that we are from God and that the whole world lies under the control of the evil one.”
✡ Satan has had control over “...all the kingdoms of the world and their glory...” (Matthew 4:8), ever since Adam obeyed the devil rather than God (see Genesis 3:1-7; Romans 5:12), and he passed that disobedience on to all of us! (see Romans 5:12). ✡ As Jesus told the Pharisees, so it applies to all mankind: “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.”
- That’s why we all need to be saved from sin, death, and hell! And the only way of salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ, and what He did for us on the cross!
✞ For it is written in I John 5:11 and 12, “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life, and he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” ✞ Acts 4:12 makes it very exclusive: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
So we cannot expect peace, in the world, or from the world! And if we pray for world peace (peace between nations, people groups, as well as individuals), we might just as well pray for ‘whirled peas’!
But what of God’s peace in personal situations?
Consider Isaiah 26:3 and 4 – “You [LORD] will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for in the LORD Jehovah is everlasting strength.” (I quoted the King James Version in the second half of verse 4). I have used the truth of this Scripture many times, and it has always brought me peace! (Read the Gem, “Perfect Peace in a Dentist Chair!” March 25, 2013).
But there are some conditions that must be met to experience God’s peace!
- Verse 3 – “…whose mind is stayed on You….” The word ‘stayed‘ is the Hebrew word סמך (pronounced saw-mak’) meaning, according to Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions, “…to lean…lean upon…lean against…lay…lay upon…rest…rest upon…put, uphold…sustain…to support or brace oneself…refresh, revive….”
✡ It reminds me of Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you....” The burden you are casting upon Him turns out to be YOU, whom He sustains! ✡ You are to cast yourself upon God, fixing your mind on Him, and staying there, resting in Him!
- Verse 3 – “…because he trusts in You.” When you are resting upon the LORD, you are trusting that He will uphold you! ‘Trust‘ in Hebrew is בּטח (pronounced baw-takh’) meaning “…to trust, trust in, to have confidence…to be secure…to feel safe….” (Ibid.)
✡ Proverbs 3:5 and 6 addresses this issue of trust: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” ✡ Such trust is learned by practice! Apparently, Isaiah could write “...because he trusts in You...” because he had done it many times before, and found that it worked!
- Verse 4 – “Trust in the LORD forever…” Be consistent in your trust in the LORD!
- Verse 4 – “…for in the LORD Jehovah is everlasting strength.” This is the reason for trusting God – His everlasting strength!
✡ He is the LORD Jehovah! The two words of His name in Hebrew are יְהֹוָה יָהּ (pronounced yah yeh-ho-vah’ – reading right to left in Hebrew) meaning the same for each word: “The self-existent One....the proper name of God.” (Ibid.) ✡ He is always strong, and His ultimate and trustworthy strength never varies!
He is trustworthy to give you peace!
So trust Him!
John 14:27 is perhaps the best New Testament Scripture concerning peace, and it is spoken by Jesus Himself: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” This verse is part of four chapters (John 13, 14, 15, and 16) where Jesus has last interactions with His disciples just hours before His arrest, condemnation, and crucifixion!
“Peace…not as the world gives do I give to you.” I briefly discussed above why no one can find peace in the world! According to Jesus, the devil, who pulls the strings of the world system, only comes “…to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” (John 10:10). You can’t expect someone with that agenda to give anyone peace!
Remember, Jesus was leaving His disciples, and they were sad! (see John 16:6). They had been with Him for most of His three-plus years of ministry, and now they were losing their beloved Leader! But He comforts them with several promises:
- “In My Father’s house…I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
- “…I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3).
- “…he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do because I go to My Father.” (John 14:12)
- “…the Holy Spirit who will help you and always be with you…and will keep on living in you….The Spirit will show you what is true.” (John 14:16, 17 – Contemporary English Version).
- “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11).
- “…I chose…and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain….” (John 15:16).
- “…I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.” (John 16:22).
- “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.” (John 16:23).
And among His promises of ultimate victory, the Lord also promised to give His followers peace – His peace! “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you….” This amazes me! Just hours before His suffering, death, and having to bear the sin of all humanity, Jesus is talking about His peace! Yes, it is written that…
- …He confessed, “Now is My soul troubled…[because] for this purpose I came to this hour [of suffering and death]” (John 12:27).
- …He sweat blood in the garden as He prayed, “Father, if it is Your will, remove this cup from Me, nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42).
- …He knew Judas would betray Him! (see John 6:70, 71).
- …He knew all the disciples would be offended and run away! (see Matthew 26:31).
But Jesus also knew His sacrifice would reconcile all mankind, yea, all creation unto God! According to Hebrews 12:2, this was “…the joy that was set before Him, [that reconciliation that made]…Him endure the cross, despising the shame…” and complete what was needed for such an amazing salvation outcome!
And so the Lord Jesus had peace concerning that which, by His passion and crucifixion, needed to be done! And “…My peace I give to you.”
- If Jesus could have peace and even joy through His suffering and death…
- If His peace carried Him to and through the resurrection…
- If the peace of God eternally surrounds Him on His heavenly throne…
- If He offers us that same peace…
“Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid.”