Today as I was praying for many acquaintances and friends being significantly impacted in a variety of ways by the COVID-19 pandemic the Lord brought the words of Isaiah 23:6 to mind.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3 [ESV]
In response I immediately began meditating on and studying it, and I was quickly struck by how densely rich it is. Multiple profound truths in simple phrases packed tightly together.
The God of the universe is the “You” here. God keeps. The keeping is an act of God not man. I am not responsible for this keeping, He is.
“him… whose mind is stayed on you”
God keeps the one whose mind is stayed on Him. The word mind is also translated as imagination, but the meaning is the same. God keeps the one whose mind, imagination or thoughts are “stayed” or continually fixed on Him. The mind stayed on God meditates on His truths and longs for Him and understanding of His Word. The one whose mind is stayed on God is one who can say like David in Psalm 63, “O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
Paul beautifully and practically guides us to “stay our minds” with this exhortation, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Phil. 4:8). He further reminds and encourages us that through God’s power we are equipped to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and [to] take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).
“I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:7-8 [NASB]
“in perfect peace”
God keeps in perfect peace the one whose mind is stayed on Him. This is probably my favorite part. The Hebrew word translated as “perfect peace” is actually “shalom, shalom,” the equivalent of “peace, peace.” This peace he provides is so complete, full and perfect that no adjective could rightly amplify it, so it is repeated instead. It is the same peace Paul speaks of in Philippians 4:7 as “surpassing all comprehension.” We are incapable of comprehending the sufficiency of it. That means our wildest imaginings can not even begin to adequately portray the magnitude and fullness of the peace He has readily available for those who will fix their minds and thoughts on Him.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 [NASB]
“because he trusts in you”
The one whose mind is stayed on God is kept by God in perfect peace because he trusts in God. As we fix our minds on Him and trust in Him alone He acts on our behalf to keep us in His perfect peace. Perfect peace can never be found trusting in anyone or anything other than Him. Health, finances, career, education, other people or relationships, and every every other option we may choose to put our trust in will fail to provide the peace we long for. He alone is both worthy of our trust and able to provide perfect peace.
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” Psalm 20:7 [ESV]
“He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah”. Psalm 62:6-8 [ESV]
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, staying your mind on Him and trusting in Him, your circumstances do not determine your peace, your God does.
“…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13 [ESV]
Praise God that He keeps those in perfect peace whose minds are stayed on Him, because they trust in Him. Trust Him today. Trust the truths of His revealed Word, His character and nature, His provision and His promises. Trust in Him and be kept in perfect peace today.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13 [ESV]
Come, Lord Jesus.
Artwork: Sarah Harmening