“Peace, Elusive, but Attainable”

Text: Isaiah 26:3-4 (KJV), John 20:19(KJV)

“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.” – Isaiah 26”3-4.

“Then the same day at evening being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” – John 20:19, 21

As I reflect on the upcoming celebration of Easter on March 31st, I again revisit its meaning, its significance and its place in our faith.  I reflect on the many calls I get from individuals experiencing discord, dysfunction, and disassociation from loved ones because of death or broken relationships.  My response is always to direct them to the Lord and what he promises.  You see I am a “pointer to God”.   Everyone who knows God, and has accepted Jesus as his son and sacrificial lamb is also a “pointer.”

I find solace in two these passages.  The first from the prophet Isaiah, God’s spokesman, the second from Jesus himself.  As Isaiah penned these words of comfort he was being directed by God.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”   The word inspiration comes from the Greek word theopneustos– theos – God, Pneo – to breath.-1   So in Isaiah’s passage these words of comfort were breathed into his soul, whispered into his ear by God as he penned this passage some 740 years before Christ was born. The consistency and continuity of God’s message is remarkable.  What was written in the Old Testament was fulfilled in the New Testament.  What God the Father said in the Old Testament was confirmed by God the Son in the New Testament. 

The word “peace” translated from the Hebrew thought conveys a city kept securely by a strong garrison within, though besieged from without.  “Keep” in the Hebrew sense expresses “guard”, and also to protect.-2    QUESTION: Have you ever felt attacked with no defenses to protect yourself, seemingly at the mercy of the perpetrator of ill will against you, in essence a victim of circumstances over which you have no control. ANSWER: Keep your mind stayed on Jesus, trust him, call out to him and he will “keep you in perfect peace.”  The circumstance may or may not change but inside your mind and heart there can be “peace.”

Is peace elusive? The answer is yes, it is.  It skirts from your grasp like a falling leaf that you try to catch on a fall windy day.  Physical or mental gymnastics are useless in finding peace.  The new genre today is meditation as a way to gain a peaceful mind.  But unless God is the center of this meditation, all efforts to “mind” your way to peacefulness will not succeed.  Note the key action verbs in Isaiah’s passage.  First, he writes God will “keep” you or guard your heart so that the external does not disrupt the internal.  Then he gives the all-important formula for “perfect peace”, words that denote acts of faith on the part of the believer: 1) “whose mind is stayed on thee” and 2) “he trusteth in thee.”  In short, you have to keep your mind on Jesus if you want to be kept by Jesus.  You must trust him thus facilitating an open mutual dialogue with him. You speak to God by praying to him, “without ceasing”-1 Thessalonians 5:17.  God speaks back to you when you read his word; and we are taught by the Holy Spirit to know all things – I John 2:20 and  –

1 Corinthians 2:9-13.  There you have it, a two-way communication.  Just consider for a moment how difficult it would be to form a close relationship with someone you never talked to; so it is with God.

In the calls I referenced earlier, I always encourage the caller to get into the habit of reading the bible every day, read daily devotionals, i.e., The Daily Bread.  Read Psalms or Proverbs (there are 31 Proverbs, one for each day).  If you are in the growing number of individuals who are reading the bible in a year, be sure you take time to reflect on the passages rather than approaching it as an effort driven by the wish to accomplish quantity while sacrificing quality thought provoking reading. This month’s message was inspired by my journey through the Old Testament and when I reached this passage I stopped and let God speak to me.

In our second passage in the Gospel of John, we see Jesus speaking his first words to his disciples after his resurrection, “peace be unto you.”  They were afraid of outer circumstances just like you may be in your situation. In vs. 21 he indicates he was sent by his Father to bring peace.  When Jesus is in the room, all is well; PRAISE GOD!!!

This is why Easter is so significant. By his resurrection from the dead on Easter morning; Jesus overpowered death and secured a pathway for us straight to God.  Didn’t he say that in the last chapter of Matthew after his resurrection? “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth……I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”  I close with the words from this famous hymn: “And he walks with me and he talks with me and he tells me I am his own, and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”

Yours in Christ

 

Dempsey Scott Harrison, Jr.

1 Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, pp. 603
2 Jamieson, Fausset, Brown-”A Commentary, Critical, Experimental, and    practical”, pp. 643

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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