By Shawn McMullen
Whether its words were to be sung by pilgrims entering Jerusalem to worship or by the permanent settlement of Jews in the city, Isaiah 26 masterfully weaves adoration, trust, confession, repentance, and hope into a single song of praise to God. Some segments call forth praise from the nation. Others elicit praise from the individual.
One segment (vv. 3, 4, English Standard Version) expresses a unique and timeless truth about the peace of God: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”
God’s Word contains many promises of peace. Some come directly from the Prince of Peace himself. All of them are relevant, meaningful, and comforting. Still, Isaiah’s promise of peace stands out for several reasons.
It reminds us that the peace of God is a supernatural peace. The verses begin with the words, “You keep.” Clearly God is the source of this peace and the one who maintains it in our lives. He graciously gives it to us and he faithfully keeps us in it. It’s comforting to know we don’t have to manufacture peace on our own or labor to keep hold of it once we get it. God does that for us.
Paul identified God as the source of peace when he wrote, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6, 7, emphasis added). This peace isn’t ours; it’s on loan from God.
It reminds us that the peace of God is a perfect peace. It’s complete and adequate. When we’re facing disappointment, uncertainty, grief, or pain, we may not know what we need or what to ask for; but God knows. And he promises to give us a peace that is exactly—and perfectly—what we need at the moment.
It reminds us that the peace of God is a conditional peace. God’s peace is a gift, but it’s not unconditional. If it were, everyone would have it. Isaiah reminds us that God requires two things of those who seek his peace: focus and trust. We must fix our minds on him and trust in him to do what he has promised.
It reminds us that the peace of God is an eternal peace. Because God is “an everlasting rock,” we can trust him forever for his perfect peace. The words everlasting and forever form a bridge between this life and the life to come.
When we give God our attention and trust, we will have his perfect peace in this world—no matter what circumstances we face. And because the everlasting God is the repository of perfect peace, his peace will follow us into eternity.
It’s good to know we’ll never be without it.