Thursday, February 23, 2012

Promise of Perfect Peace

Isaiah 26:3-4 (RSV-CE)

3 Thou dost keep . . . in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusts in thee. 
4 Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.

I was helping, well more like doing, my son's Bible homework for him this morning.  His Bible version is ESV - English Study Version, and as you know mine is the regular edition of the New Jerusalem Bible from 1985.  My version really messed up this verse in the translation.  I was surprised by this.  I base that on going to the Blue Letter Bible online reference.  I was happy to find EWTNs browsable version, RSV-CE had it more literally to the Hebrew.  

It is a blessing my version has it wrong though because I've been spending much time on this verse, sort of the Lord's way of using my curiosity, and impetuous internet research addiction to his purposes!

This is an amazing promise.  The ellipse above is in place of "him".  Him is not in the blue letter translation from Hebrew.  I am not Miss Inclusive Language Lady, instead I am more The Bible is God's Personal Love Letter Lady but it is slightly quicker jump to insight that this Bible verse is meant for me, and meant for you---not just for this him character.

English (KJV) Strong's Root Form (Hebrew) Tense
Thou wilt keep h5341
נצר natsar
[him] in perfect h7965
שלום shalowm
peace, h7965
שלום shalowm
[whose] mind h3336
יצר yetser
[is] stayed h5564
סמך camak
[on thee]: because he trusteth h982
בטח batach
in thee.

Do you want to take God up on his promise today, and for this Lent, when I think many of us crave the grace of Lent to do better returning love for the ineffable Love that was given and shown to us in the Paschal Sacrifice of Christ our Lord?

Lord, please keep my mind stayed on you.  Lord, please let the streams of your mercy and grace, streaming from your pierced side fall on me.  Forgive me that my mind too often does not stay on Thee.  Forgive me that I do not strongly or consistently enough trust in you.

I do trust in you, my God.  I desire this perfect peace.  Please give me the grace this day, this Lent to keep my mind on you.  You are faithful to your promises Lord.  Thank you for this verse today!
Scott Hahn and his team need 10 years to complete the OT part of the Ignatius Study Bible.  "Catholic commentary Isaiah 26:3" comes up empty with exception of being quoted in a blog.

Quick abbreviated commentary on Isaiah 26:3-4 from Smith, Chuck of Calvary Chapel.
·        It means that there is no inner turmoil.
·        No frantic frenzy of activity "He that believeth shall not make haste."
·        No anxiety or worry.
·        No striving against others, no competition or seeking to control others.
·        A perfect inner rest.
·        An inner quietness.
·        To have peace with God, Jesus Christ is a necessity.  "Having made peace with God through the blood of His cross."  "The peace of God shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ." “Peace leave with you, my peace give..."
·        "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee."
·        How? Keep your mind stayed on God.
·        If your mind on yourself you desire to be recognized or you desire to have.
·        The perfect peace is God's part.
·        Keeping my mind stayed on Him is my part.
·        If I do my part, I can be sure God will do His.
·        "Because he trusteth in thee." 
·        Is God still on the throne?  He who created, can He not sustain?
·        Put your trust in Him, He is worthy of your trust.
·        "For the Lord Jehovah is the Rock of Ages."

From John Gill (Baptist 1697-1771):  
Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace
Peace with God in Christ through his blood, in a way of believing, and as the fruit and effect of his righteousness being received by faith; this is not always felt, received, and enjoyed in the soul; yet the foundation of it always is, and is perfect; and besides, this peace is true, real, and solid; in which sense the word "perfect" is used, in opposition to a false and imaginary one; and it will end in perfect peace in heaven: moreover, the word "perfect" is not in the Hebrew text, it is there "peace, peace"; which is doubled to denote the certainty of it, the enjoyment of it, and the constancy and continuance of it; and as expressive of all sorts of peace, which God grants unto his people, and keeps for them, and them in; as peace with God and peace with men, peace outward and peace inward, peace here and peace hereafter; and particularly it denotes the abundance of peace that believers will have in the kingdom of Christ in the latter day; see ( Psalms 72:7 ) ( Isaiah 9:7 ) : [whose] mind [is] stayed [on thee];
or "fixed" on the love of God, rooted and grounded in that, and firmly persuaded of interest in it, and that nothing can separate from it; on the covenant and promises of God, which are firm and sure; and on the faithfulness and power of God to make them good, and perform them; and on Christ the Son of God, and Saviour of men; upon him as a Saviour, laying the whole stress of their salvation on him; upon his righteousness, for their justification; upon his blood and sacrifice, for atonement, pardon, and cleansing; on his fulness, for the supply of their wants; on his person, for their acceptance with God; and on his power, for their protection and preservation; see ( Isaiah 10:20 ) ( 50:10 ) ( Psalms 112:7 Psalms 112:8 ) : because he trusteth in thee;
not in the creature, nor in any creature enjoyment, nor in their riches, nor in their righteousness, nor in their own hearts, nor in any carnal privileges: only in the Lord, as exhorted to in the next verse ( Isaiah 26:4 ) ; in the Word of the Lord, as the Targum, that is, in Christ.

(Colleen's Notes:  Gill was strict Calvinist, so when he writes "fruit and effect of . . . righteousness received by faith" this is heretic from Catholic teaching.  The Holy Spirit sanctifies us and was sent in abundance by the Father after the Son's ascension into heaven.  The Calvinists, Lutherans go off the track; i.e. heretical belief, when they view the work in our soul as rubber stamp of righteousness because of belief.  But if you get past this---we are not righteous simply because of belief, the rest of this provides some great insights, as far as what is perfect peace, and how it does say peace peace and not perfect peace in the Hebrew as you'll see above.  It is amazing though how often he departs from the actual text of Isaiah 26:3 to include and repeat the messages "the justification by faith", "righteousness received by faith".  It seems like it is one thing to make some verses more important than others in the Bible and another thing to keep referring back to a fairly unrelated interpretation of a verse when doing commentary on another verse in the Bible, doesn't it?  Need to remember to pray for Scott Hahn and his project!  Believing is the first step toward receiving the redemption offered to us in John 3:16.  Isn't there a difference between the purity of soul, and great love we see in models like Our Lady and some of the saints and upon whom God's favor is shown by the working of miracles, or an incorruptible body, than in a "believer" that is rubber stamped righteous?  Certainly all goodness, love, purity of heart and intention, the grace to forgive and be forgiven is the gift of God's grace and not anything we can boast of.  It can be achieved in a short span of time, or a long one as St. Therese prayed in her Act of Oblation to Merciful Love, "Time is nothing in Your eyes, and a single day is like a thousand years. You can, then, in one instant prepare me to appear before You."
In case you are interested the Targum was the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible from the 2nd Temple period (516 BC - 70 AD).)


  1. It was in the past couple of weeks that I got the insight that to be at peace on earth and in heaven means being wholly conformed to the will of God. If everyone in the world was this way, we would have heaven on earth. But life isn't that way, and we are so imperfect we have to throw ourselves on God's mercy and begin anew each day to seek and do His will confident in Him and not in ourselves.

    1. Barb, that makes much sense, and think that would flow from keeping one's mind stayed on God. Also like it that we cannot get closer to the ideal peace if we don't daily begin anew and not let our failings get in the way of seeking each morning for God's mercy and seeking anew to seek his will. Perfect that our confidence is placed in Him and not in ourselves!

  2. Amen to both comments!!
    Peace begins with God and then flows to others from each of us. It can be contagious.
    I have had people tell me that they want the peace that they see I have. I had no idea! I often feel inner turmoil, but they see only the peace. God is good!