Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. — Isaiah 26:3
Catherine Marshall, a well-known Christian author, told of a king who had commissioned a contest inviting artists to paint a portrayal of peace. Many submissions were made, and out of the entries, two finalists were selected.
One artist pictured a tranquil lake, peacefully reflecting beautiful mountains and billowing white clouds. The other artist had painted a very different scene. Harsh, rugged mountains dominated his canvas. A fierce storm was brewing, the sky dark, the clouds filled with threatening rain. Lightning flashed, and nothing about the tempest appeared peaceful. How could this be a portrayal of peace? But as the king studied the painting more closely, he saw a tiny bush growing in the cleft of a rock, and in the bush sat a mother bird on her nest, serene and secure, in perfect peace. The second picture won the prize.
The storms of life may be swirling about us. Trouble may seem to be on every hand. Perhaps serious injury, illness, or other physical trauma has caused suffering. It may be that a rebellious child, a broken relationship, a loss by death, physical or emotional abuse, personal failure, or any of a myriad of other circumstances has brought pain our way. Whatever the cause, God can give peace in the midst of the storm.
Not long ago I heard someone talk about how, in the midst of distressing circumstances, God helped him to feel as though he were in the eye of the storm. Jesus gave peace! We cannot avoid distressing circumstances — at some point in life they will come to us all — but with God, we can know peace even in turmoil. Supported by God’s unchanging love and mighty power, we can remain unshaken by the chaos that surrounds us.
God wants to provide that peace for all of His children. As we “stay” our minds and hearts on Him, we will find His peace is ours.
God used this psalm of trust, praise, and meditation to reveal the future to Israel, and it will be spoken by the remnant of Israel as the Millennial Reign begins. In verse two, the gates to be opened refer to the gates of the New Jerusalem. It looks forward to the time when saved Israel will come to a place of honor in that city.
In the Hebrew text, the “perfect peace” referred to in verse three is emphasized by literally writing the word “shalom” (peace) twice, meaning the peace that God offers goes beyond what finite minds can comprehend.
Prior to having this peace, Isaiah foresaw that the Jewish people would be persecuted terribly, and he compared them to a woman giving birth who can barely utter a prayer. However, he told of a time when hope will break forth and their praises will glorify God as they are delivered.
Verse seven includes the phrase “weigh the path.” Weighing the path was a process of making the path smooth or level. This reference indicates that God will work to make the path of the righteous level.
The references to “other lords” in verses 13-14 point back to the idolatrous days of Israel’s past when they had put other gods before the one, true God. The people were telling God they had put these foolish notions aside and that He was the only true God — the others were dead. Praise would only be directed to God.
Verse 19 is one of the strongest teachings of the resurrection of the physical body found anywhere in the Old Testament.
The close of this chapter indicates that when God comes to judge the earth, the unrighteous will find no place to hide.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The message of condemnation: the Holy One of Israel provoked, rebuking and judging
D. Prophecies related to the world
2. The praise for deliverance and blessing
b. The praise for God’s blessing (26:1-21)
(1) His faithfulness (26:1-6)
(2) His righteousness (26:7-10)
(3) His deliverance (26:11-18)
(4) His resurrection (26:19)
(5) His protection (26:20-21)
Today, remember back to a time when God has given you peace in the midst of an emotional storm. Look to Him with thanksgiving in your heart for the deliverance He alone can give.