Peace Like A River

December 23, 2014

Peace Like a River

Isaiah 48:18 speaks of peace like a river.  “O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.” Peace is something we all want to enjoy.  If we want it, we need to know how to have it, and what our responsibility is in making it possible.

There are three aspects of peace that we want to consider in this article.  The first, and the one of immeasurable value, is peace with God.  People without God are in a hostile relationship with God.  They may not realize it, but to refuse to submit to his authority is to oppose him.  All men need to be reconciled to God.  Romans 5:10 says, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” God wants to use his people as his ambassadors.  They go out and seek to persuade people to be reconciled to God.  II Corinthians 5:20 says, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

Peace with God comes to us when we come to him as guilty sinners who stand condemned before God.  The proper response to that is to ask God to forgive us by the merits of Christ’s righteousness which he purchased for us when he died on the cross.  Romans 5:8-9 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”  Peace with God gives us a feeling of relief.

The second aspect of peace is called the peace of God.  Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  The measure of the peace of God we have depends on the closeness of our relationship with him.  James 4:8-10 tells us that God will draw nigh to us if we draw nigh to him.  “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.    Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.    Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”  These verses tell us what we need to do to draw nigh to him.  We can’t expect God to draw nigh to us unless we are willing to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts.  Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”   If we feel closeness to God, we will trust his promises to care for us.   We can then claim the promises of God like the one found in Psalm 84:11.  “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”  John 16:33 tells us “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  Even in the midst of tribulation we can have peace.  We have the promise of Romans 8:28.  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Jesus came into this world to give us both peace with God and the peace of God.  John 14:27 says “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

When people talk about peace most often they are thinking of peace in the world.  They may only be talking about peace in a small part of the world and not the whole world.  Peace in the world is something that is highly to be desired. It is difficult to live in peace when there is hostility around us.  It is in vain for us to think we can bring about peace in the world, but there may be something we can do to contribute to peace in our part of the world.  Psalm 34:14 says, “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.”  Sin militates against peace.  Isaiah 48:22 says, “There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.”  The wicked will not have peace.  Their actions mitigate against the peace of those around them.

We are plagued by professional and political agitators. They travel around the country stirring up hostility.  Wherever there are disagreements they appear and take one side or the other of the controversy.  They are troublemakers and not peacemakers.  There are often hostilities between race and ethnic groups.  Sometimes it’s between labor and management.  At other times it is a conflict between ideologies.

As Christians, our weapons are not to be carnal.  II Corinthians 10:3-4 says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.)”  Our weapons should be those listed in Ephesians 6:13-17.  “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.    Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;    And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;    Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.    And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Unfortunately, there are times when Christians must resort to carnal weapons in self- defense.  If our enemy threatens to annihilate us we must either flee or go to war.  Some Christians claim to be pacifists and refuse to go to war, but Romans chapter 13 tells us that we must be subject to our rulers in time of war.

Romans 12:18 says, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, with some it’s impossible to be at peace.  In that case, it is best to stay away from them.  We shouldn’t let them rob us of our peace with God and with others.  Peace is a precious commodity.  Psalm 34:14 tells us to “Seek peace and pursue it.” The quality of life we enjoy depends on the measure of peace we have.  You can have it if you do what God tells you to do.

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