Peace, as a concept, is easy to proclaim, but hard to purchase. It makes a good buzzword, but it is a near impossible goal for humanity.
As I write this, rockets rip across the skies in the land where Jesus Himself once walked and two people groups threaten to annihilate each other. As I sip my coffee, churches and families are being ripped apart by political ideological battles, whether they be aggressive or passive aggressive, virtual or actual fronts.To say we need peace is an understatement. To say we cannot achieve it ourselves is also an understatement.
God’s people longed for peace, and understandably so. They knew too much of war, both within and without. They also knew that peace would not be cheap. They innately knew it had to be purchased.
As an anxious soul, I have always had an eye for verses promising peace. In fact, when I first came to Christ, there were two anchor-line verses from Isaiah 26 which I memorized and to which I clung.
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 (Isaiah 26:3-4).
O, Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works (Isaiah 26:12).
In both of these Scriptures, God’s people realize that any hope of obtaining or experiencing peace on earth would only come from focusing on the very nature of their God, Yahweh. In a sea of adversity and in waves of shifting regimes and kingdoms, their only anchoring point was in the Rock Everlasting, the One who did not change.
Where they stood in the story of the slowly unraveling history of redemption, God’s people could not see what we see clearly on the other side of the Cross of Christ. They knew that peace could not only come when one’s mind was fully set on God. They did not know that the only One who would ever have His heart fully fixed on God would set His face toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:51). They knew God would ordain peace for them. They did not know that such peace would be purchased through the costly, sacrificial love of God-Himself-made-man (Ephesians 2:14; 1 Peter 1:17-19).
We have access to the life-transforming knowledge that peace is a person, the person of Christ.
The human record is wretched;
We’ve accomplished naught.
All our most elevated efforts
Nothing but wind have wrought.
Your peace will not be earned
By our ceaseless striving.
It is present and purchased,
While we await your arriving.
Your long-promised peace
Is not to our performance tied.
It is wrapped up in the God-man
Who lives though once he died.
All that our good God ordains
He Himself will expertly fulfill.
It is His to do and ours to trust,
As He accomplishes His will.
You keep him in perfect peace
Whose mind is stayed on you.
For all our God has purposed,
He’ll ultimately carry through.
With such knowledge of the person of peace, we are invited to wage peace on this war-torn earth and to proclaim gospel hope to war-ravaged souls. But before we can properly proclaim His peace, we must let Him permeate our own lives.
And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace (James 3:18).