This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.
Meditation on Isaiah 26:3,4
“Peace in the Storm”
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD forever: for in the LORD Jehovah is everlasting strength.”
Our text is part of a song, sung by God’s people. It reflects upon the coming day of God’s deliverance of His people. It is sung in the midst of troubles that must yet be faced. The theme of the Book of Isaiah is that “Zion shall be redeemed by judgment” (Isa. 1:27). This means that the wicked will be punished, but also that God’s people will be chastised for their own good. How desolate she shall stand in this world. God’s people must be reminded of the deliverance that will be seen and experienced. We hold on to the promise of God that He will build a strong city with salvation as its walls. The gates of that city must be opened up for us that we may enter in and enjoy the security. If the gates are shut, the walls will not be helpful. It is through the Lord Jesus that we have access. The church as a righteous nation enters the city by Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross. There we receive perfect safety and will dwell forever. The keeper of the city gives protection.
Perfect peace: literally in the Hebrew it is: “Peace, peace.” Isaiah, using repetition, conveys the thought of super abundant peace. God gives supernatural peace to those who trust Him (see also Phil. 4:6,7). This peace is a gift of God. It is the opposite of fear and doubt, anxiety, trouble, conflict, and warfare. It is not an earthly peace or a peace wrought by human hands or treaties. It is a spiritual peace, a peace with God and with other believers.
What a great conflict there was between us and God and between us and our fellow human beings because of sin. God is wrathful with those who contend against Him. Because of their idolatry, Judah is going to be brought down to Babylon. God hides Himself in His anger. But here is a beautiful promise. God will not always be angry. He gives double peace. What good news! There is more peace than all the world can promise or give you. Peace is through the cross of Jesus Christ and the righteousness He imputes to us. There is forgiveness for all our sins. The gospel points us to peace so that we can face all our troubles with confidence. Our peace is in the safety of being children of God, under His protection and care. May we then live in the consciousness of His gracious forgiveness! If God is for us, who can be against us? God reigns over all things and circumstances.
When our conscience accuses us, Satan is busy trying to cause us to doubt our salvation. We know that we are still inclined to all wickedness. But we read in I John 3:20, “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” God sees us in Christ Jesus! We face death, and we know that death is the wages of sin (Rom. 6:23). But when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we have peace, for we know that Christ won the victory over sin and death. Jesus Christ takes His own home to glory.
There is no peace if we are willingly walking in the way of sin and disobedience! Our minds must be stayed or fixed on the LORD. The word “stayed” in our verse means to be propped up, leaned upon. In other words, we are not self-confident. We know our own weakness and sinfulness. We lean upon the Lord like a crippled man leans upon his cane. He cannot stand or walk with out it. We are unfaithful. God is Jehovah, the one who is unchangeably faithful to His covenant for Christ’s sake. He established his covenant, realizes it in Christ, and will perfect it. God sent his Son, removing the wall of depravity and sin. We read in Romans 5:1, “Therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We look, our eyes are fixed upon our God.
When Peter looked at Jesus, he was able to walk on the water. But the moment he took his eyes off Jesus to the storm-tossed waters, he sunk. Christ alone is our peace. May the Holy Spirit work on our minds by the Gospel. There we hear the voice of our Savior. Looking to Him, the fears, doubts, and anxieties of our minds are chased away, and instead there is a calm spirit, joyful peace. When the Lord chastises us His children, we do not doubt His love or power to save. Instead, we see it as His fatherly testing of us and working to purify us and strengthening our faith. Christ is our peace (Eph. 2:14).
So, trust in the LORD. Fix your eyes and mind and heart upon Him. He cares for you. In Him, we need not fear. In Him is all our hope. In Him is all our strength. Trust Him in every situation. The trials of life often bring doubt and anxiety to our minds, but we must cast these off. It is only when our mind and thoughts are propped up upon the Lord, thinking of Him, that we will experience peace regardless of circumstances. What anxieties trouble you? How can you lean upon the Lord?
Open up your Bible. Cling to His promises. Listen to His voice. I do not know which was more troubled: the disciple’s minds or the storm-tossed sea (Mark 4:37ff). They cried out, “Master, carest thou not that we perish? Jesus arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?”
“Trust ye in the LORD for ever.” Jesus is in your storm-tossed boat. Look to Him in faith and trust. May you hear Him say, “Peace, be still.”
When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; What ever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, it is well with my soul.”