Often, I catch myself lying in bed in the early hours of the morning, unable to sleep. My mind wanders from one topic to another like a “whirlwind,” as my friend describes it. These early hours are a real challenge for me as the imagination can become facts, and small issues can be ripped out of proportion. I always find it amazing how much daylight puts perspective on what kept me awake all night. During these hours there is one verse that I meditate on often Isaiah 26:3
I have long since pulled this verse apart, and I will share it with you today because it blesses my heart every time. Isaiah writes it to Judah, who are about to be taken into captivity by Babylon. A promise is given in anticipation of a scary and challenging time for the people of Judah. There is no way that they could have anticipated the implications of the future in their own lives, much like this season in our lives where no-one can predict what the next few years will bring for us.
It starts with ‘He will keep’ which I understand to be God’s part and “mind is stayed on Him” is my part. God’s part is written in a continuous tense and implies a daily provision. What is being described here, is a habit of the mind, which is continuously rewarded by the Lord. It is a promise, an assurance we can count on, just as we know that one plus one, is two.
The words “perfect peace” are ‘shalom, shalom,’ the repeated word is a double peace, that implies a double portion of peace which is more than you need, and extra. It means completeness, wholeness, preservation and health. When it refers to wholeness of peace, it includes the entirety of peace, family peace, inner peace, financial peace, mental peace, every type of peace you can think of, that your heart would desire.
It is interesting to note that there are two groups of people who cannot have peace:
- The wicked cannot have peace: Isaiah 48:22 “There is no peace,’ says the Lord, ‘for the wicked.’” As a result of the wickedness of the world, it cannot have peace. Jesus makes a point of differentiating the peace that He gives us as being different to the “peace” the world presents to us in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
- The proud are also not grated peace. Why? Psalm 10:4 “In his pride, the wicked man does not seek him;
in all his thoughts, there is no room for God.” We, as believers, have peace through Jesus (Rom 5:1), but we can surrender our peace, buy developing proud hearts that do not make room for God in our lives. As soon as we humble ourselves before God, God blesses us with peace.
Coming back to our part: being a “mind stayed on Him, ” our ability to live by faith daily and experience the peace that is our rightful inheritance is directly related to what we think about every day. This thought is repeated in:
- Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Our thinking patterns need to be different from worldly thinking patterns.
- Phil 2:5 “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” We are to develop the mindset of Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit, thinking like Christ would have us think.
- 2 Cor 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” We are constantly evaluating our thought process and with the Spirits help, changing, converting or eliminating them to be “obedient” to Christ’s way of thinking and our knowledge of God.
Isaiah 26:3 also tells us what will be the result, of a person who has their mind “stayed on Him,” – they will trust in God, AND because they trust in God, they will stay their minds on Him. The word trust comes from the original word meaning to lean on someone. It is, as Alexander Mc Claren says, to “lay the weight of yourself on the loving strength of the Lord.” Which echo’s 1 Peter 5:7 to “cast our anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” (Which by the way, speaks of humility just before.)
The very next verse, Isaiah 26:4, makes a final promise:
“Trust in the Lord forever, for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.”
That phrase “everlasting strength” refers to the strength of a large rock that cannot be moved, it is steady, no matter the storm or circumstances. The Lord Jesus is our Rock!
- When you lie awake with a racing mind, do you meditate (stay your mind) on the Lord and the strength that He represents in Your life?
- In what ways can you refocus your thought patterns on the word and promises of God, so that your thoughts become characterized by peace?
My Lord Jehovah, my God who does not change and who reigns over all the earth, enthroned in heaven. Thank you, Lord, that in Jesus, we have the promise of a double portion of peace. Help me to evaluate my thoughts and develop thought patterns that are ‘stayed’ on You. As I practice this, help me to remember that You will keep me in perfect peace and that I do not have to try and manufacture it in any way. Each day, I can come to You because I trust in You, You are my rock, my everlasting strength and I can hide myself in You.