“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)
Times of trial are real, and often they’re painful. Emotional pain, physical, mental and even spiritual pain can accompany certain trials.
Trials are also universal. Your big bank balance will not keep you from trials. Neither will your popularity, notoriety, or personality keep you from times of trouble. Trials come to everyone. No one escapes the “thorns and thistles” of life. Trials are universally a part of the human condition. Sometimes we bring trials on ourselves, while other times the trials are no fault of our own. Yet, either way, we’re faced with it.
Marvelously, Christians don’t face trials alone! The Creator God of the universe offers aid to His children. Aid that the world does not receive. This help is exclusively available to those who know Christ as Savior.
From Isaiah 26:3-4 we will see the supply, the source, the stipulation, the security and the song.
First, consider the supply. Isaiah 26:3-4 explains that “perfect peace” and “everlasting strength” can be supplied to the children of God. It’s a two-fold supply, and they go hand-in-hand.
Throughout life, peace and strength are often coupled together. A spiritually strong person is calm in the Lion’s dens of life. He is at peace when the flames of the fiery furnace surround him.
Contrastingly, panic is seen as weakness.
In Isaiah 26, God is saying that you can be supplied with peace and strength in the midst of whatever trial, and you don’t have to panic and walk in weakness!
The peace is “perfect peace,” which is to say, “peace peace.” In the Hebrew of Isaiah 26:3 it’s “Shalom, Shalom.” It’s the word “peace” twice. You could say it’s double peace. “Perfect peace” is the idea of wholeness or complete peace. It is the perfect peace through which we can face whatever trial that comes into our lives.
The strength supplied in Isaiah 26:4 is “everlasting strength.” The Hebrew word for everlasting carries with it the idea of “no vanishing point.” It’s eternal, perpetual strength. It’s limitless strength. It’s without end.
Whatever you’re facing, the Word is God is instructing us, “You can be supplied with perfect peace and everlasting strength!”
Second, consider the Source of the supply. The God of heaven is the source of this “perfect peace” and “everlasting strength.”
In Isaiah 26:3-4, notice how many times God is referred to whether it’s in pronoun or noun form.
“Thou wilt keep him …”
“…whose mind is stayed on thee.”
“Because he trusteth in thee.”
“Trust ye in the LORD forever.”
“For in the LORD JEHOVAH is …”
The source of the supply is Jehovah God. Remember, He is the One who spoke the world into existence. He is the One who breathed life into man. He is the One who sustains all the galaxies and specifically, He sustains your beating heart.
When someone writes you a personal check, it’s only as good as the signature on the bottom. Here, the source of this heavenly promise of peace and strength is Almighty God! His truth doesn’t change. His Word is forever settled. He is the One with whom there “is no variableness neither shadow of turning.”
Third, consider the stipulation. Verse three explains that God will “keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.” The stipulation is that your mind is “stayed” on God. It’s the idea of being steadfast. It means to be rooted and grounded in God. Metaphorically, it’s to be anchored or riveted on God. The word “stayed” specifically means to remain in place.
If you’re a dog owner, maybe you’ve worked with your k-9 and taught him some tricks. Possibly you’ve taught your dog to sit on command, or to speak by barking. When we are visiting someone’s home, and they have a dog, we respect a well-trained k-9. When the pet owner instructs their dog to sit, and then stay, to remain in place, we respect the discipline of the dog as he obeys his master. Isaiah 26 is instructing us that if we want perfect peace, and everlasting strength, in a world full of trials, our heavenly Master tells us to remain in place and to have our mind “stayed” on Him.
Often, the trials that we face seem like they’re messing with our mind. Do you find yourself full of anxiety and mental and emotional panic? God is saying focus your mind on Him! He is saying to anchor your inner man on His divine character and His eternal word! This is the stipulation.
Four, consider the security of Isaiah 26:3. “Thou wilt keep…” The word “keep” means to guard, protect, and maintain. It’s a military term. The imagery here is of a soldier who is posted in a specific place to guard or keep a specific area. It’s his responsibility to keep that area secure. He is standing guard against the stealthy advance of an enemy. When we meet the stipulation and our mind is stayed on Him, then God is on guard on our behalf!
Interestingly, in the New Testament, it’s very likely that when the apostle Paul wrote Philippians 4:6-7, he had Isaiah 26:3 in mind. Notice the similarities.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Finally, consider the song. Isaiah 26:1 makes it clear that this chapter is a song. It’s a song of encouragement and jubilance in the midst of trial.
And, from Isaiah’s song of strength in Isaiah 26, other songs have been written. Frances Ridley Havergal penned “Like A River Glorious” with Isaiah 26 in mind.
Frances was an amazingly gifted poet and lyrical writer who lived in the mid 1800’s. She was a P.K; a preacher’s kid. Frances never married, but she mastered many languages. She was saved at 15 years old, and her father led her to Christ. She fell in love with Jesus and spent her life writing about Him. At 39 years old, while in South Wales, she caught a very severe cold and suffered the inflammation of her lungs. It was then that a doctor told her she only had a short time to live. He explained that she would soon die. Indeed, Frances did die at the young age of 42 years old. But, somewhere between the diagnosis at 39 and her death at 42, Frances penned that well-known hymn, “Like A River Glorious.”
In that hymn, she beautifully describes the “perfect peace” and “everlasting strength” that God supplied for her.
“Like a river glorious Is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious In its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth Fuller ev’ry day;
Perfect, yet it groweth Deeper all the way.
Hidden in the hollow Of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, Never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, Not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry Touch the spirit there.
Stayed upon Jehovah, Hearts are fully blest -
Finding as He promised, Perfect peace and rest.”
Frances’ friends and family said that to the end, she kept her mind stayed on Jehovah. To the end, she exhibited “perfect peace” and “everlasting strength.”
May God help us to have our minds stayed on Him and “Trust in the Lord forever,” so that we will receive “perfect peace” and “everlasting strength” as we face the turbulence and the trials of life.
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