Our Isaiah and Hebrews readings provide an abundance of thoughts today. Some verses encourage peace of mind, others a sense of awe at what is coming on the world , at the judgement our godless world deserves. Ch. 26 in Isaiah contains a grouping of quite contrasting revelations from God – verses 3 and 4 are worthy of being memorised.
“You will keep him (her) in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he (she) trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” How wonderful to have a mind that is “stayed on” God, the only foundation for “perfect peace” in a world which knows no peace: no peace between nations – yes – but more vital than that – no trust and peace between individuals, nearly every news bulletin makes this clear.
The reign of Jesus when he returns (how soon now?) to the earth will be the time “when your judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the earth learn righteousness…” [v.9] But at the moment, as in Isaiah’s day, “O LORD your hand is lifted up, but they do not see it.” [v.11].
Let us try ever harder to “see” the Lord’s hand so that the next verse is true for us, “O LORD, you will ordain peace for us; you have done for us all our works.” [v.12] – because those works have been done in the strength that God gives to us – and then we will heed the warning given in v.20,21 “… my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by. For behold the LORD is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth …”
There are words in our Hebrews reading which dovetail in with these; “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works … encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” [ch. 10 v.23-25] This is the only way to achieve and maintain “perfect peace.”
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