Perfect Peace

by David and Stephen Olford

David and Stephen OlfordText: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength" (Isaiah 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.

The source of perfect peace. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Theefor in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." The source of this wonderful peace is the Lord Jehovah. He is spoken of in these matchless verses as the "everlasting strength" 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."

The scope of perfect peace. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee." The scholars tell us that this should more accurately read: "Thou wilt keep him in peace, peace whose mind is stayed on Thee." 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: "The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 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."

The secret of perfect peace. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee Trust ye in the Lord for ever." 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 Olford teaches expository preaching at Union University's
Stephen Olford Center in Memphis, Tennessee

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