Today, we are diving into the Old Testament for a look at one of my favorite verses. And one that makes a tantalizing promise . . . one I sometimes feel is virtually unattainable.
And it should. Because we were made for perfect peace. Adam and Eve experienced it in the garden and there is a longing, deep within our souls, for what was lost.
The Hebrew word we translate as "peace" is "shalom." It looks like this - שָׁלֹ֑ום - and it turns out that in the literal Hebrew, the word "perfect" does not appear in this verse. It actually says "שָׁלֹ֑ום שָׁלֹ֑ום" or "shalom, shalom." I'm no more a Hebrew scholar than I am a Greek scholar, but according to the commentaries I read, when a word is doubled it is done so for emphasis and to denote the certainty of the word.
Peace upon peace. Double peace. Absolute peace. Oh, yeah. That's what I want.
The ESV Study Bible says that shalom...
"had a much richer connotation than the English word does since in conveyed not merely the absence of conflict but also the notion of positive blessing, especially in terms of a right relationship with God, and also, as a result, the idea that "all is well" in one's life. This may be manifested most clearly amid persecution and tribulation."Insert screeching tire sounds here!
Wait just a minute. Shalom is manifested most clearly amid persecution and tribulation? That's not what I think of when I think of peace.
Which brings us back to our minds. As we've been studying, we need to constantly be in the process of renewing our minds. One way to do that is to think about truth. To focus on the Truth even what is true in our lives stinks.
We believe the Bible is true and this verse promises "perfect peace" to the one who can keep his mind "stayed" on God.
Sounds like a lot of hard work, doesn't it?
I thought so, until I looked up the word for "stayed". Guess what it means in Hebrew?
To lean, lay, rest
They require surrender.
The mind resting in full surrender on God - His truth, His will, His love, His plan - will know that all is well in their world, despite tribulation and suffering.
I don't know about you, but this is a lot for me to get my mind around. Let's talk about it more tomorrow.
Today's post made me think of the hymn Like a River Glorious by Frances Ridley Havergal. I've included Verse 3 and the chorus for you to ponder.
Ev'ry joy or trial
Falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial
By the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully
All for us to do
They who trust Him wholly
Find Him wholly true.
Stayed upon Jehovah,
Hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised,
Perfect peace and rest.