Today's Word of Encouragement
Monday, April 20, 2020
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You (Isaiah 26:3).
In the Masoretic Text (the Old Testament Hebrew and Aramaic that is used by the Jewish community today) this verse is written, ‘“You keep the firmly-established mind in peace, peace; for his confidence rests on You.” The repetition of the word ‘peace’ denotes emphasis. Here it means undisturbed or complete peace, perfect peace. But what is peace?
Some define peace as ‘the absence of conflict’, which it is. Synonyms for peace include ‘calmness’, ‘tranquility’, ‘repose’, or ‘serenity’. But is that what the prophet Isaiah meant?
The Hebrew word ‘peace’ is shalom. I’m sure you’ve heard that word before. In Jewish circles it is used as a greeting, like ‘aloha’ in Hawaiian. The Jews also u se the word shalom as a benediction, or ‘good-bye’. Is that how Isaiah used it?
The Hebrew word shalom means wholeness, completeness, soundness, health, safety and prosperity, carrying with it the implication of permanence. To the ancient Hebrews, true peace rests with God – it transcends the situations and flaws of our own personal lives because it doesn’t come from us. It comes from God. We cannot attain peace ourselves. And yet, God promises all the qualities of true peace to those who keep their mind focused on Him and whose heart trusts in Him.
One great example of this is Abraham, whom God called to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. Imagine the heart and mind of Abraham as he and Isaac and their servants walked for 3 days to Mt. Moriah. Do you think Abraham was anxious, worried, panicked, fearful? Would you be? Do you think he wrestl ed with God in his heart or argued with God in his mind? Would you?
I would like to think that the man of God stayed focused on God, firmly fixed on God, for the 3 day journey. With every step he prayed. No doubt he rehearsed the promises of God to him concerning Isaac, believing, trusting that God would keep His promise to him, Isaac, and the soon to come nation of Israel. "Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham said to his servants, “and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you." Complete trust and confidence in God. Peace, peace. Perfect peace. Wholeness. Completeness. Safety. That’s God’s promise to those who keep their mind focused on Him.
What’s your mind and heart focused on these days?