Originally published in Pulpit Helps, January 2009.
Text: "The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock" (Isa. 26:3-4).
Thought: There is undoubtedly a close connection between the opening verses of Isaiah 26 and the words of our text. In his song of victory, Isaiah describes a strong city with salvation for its walls and bulwark, and open gates for those whose lives are characterized by righteousness and truth. The prophet then goes on to speak of the security and serenity of those who live within this city of God. With exquisite language the writer of this evangelical prophecy unfold the source, scope and secret of God's peace.
I. The Source of Perfect Peace.
"The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You…. For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock." The source of this wonderful peace is the Lord Jehovah. He is spoken of in these matchless verses as the "everlasting Rock" or literally, the "Rock of Ages."
How comforting to know that in a world where everything seems to be shaking and shifting the Christian can stay his mind upon the Rock of Ages. As the great "I AM." God is what He is because he is the sources, the motive, the law, and the sustenance of His own being. He is the changeless and eternal One. He is the Rock of Ages. Within the cleft of the Rock is "peace, perfect peace."
II. The Scope of Perfect Peace.
"The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace…." The peace which God offers His own people is not intermittent or occasional, but rather like a river glorious, ever flowing in its unbroken fullness to the believing heart. Without doubt, the Apostle Paul was thinking of this very passage when he dictated his letter to the church at Philippi: And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7).
It is the steadfast mind that is kept in perfect peace in a world so distraught with unrest and tumult of mind and heart. How precious to know that God's purpose for us is "peace, perfect peace."
III. The Secret of Perfect Peace.
"The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever." The word for "mind" here is a word meaning "thought" or "imagination." It is within the area of our thoughts and imaginations that unrest, turmoil and fear begin, but to stay our minds upon Jehovah is to know perfect peace and rest.
"What do men do with light things on deck when the ship is ‘pitching?'" asks Dr. Alexander Maclaren. "Lash them to a fixed point. Lash yourself to God by simple trust and then you will partake of His certain immutability in such fashion as it is possible for the creature to participate in the attributes of the Creator."
Thrust: "Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest: finding as He promised, perfect peace and rest."
David L. Olford teaches expository preaching at Union University's Stephen Olford Center in Memphis, Tennessee.
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