You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Trust in the Lord always,
for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.
Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws;
our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.
[Isaiah 26: 3-4,8 (NLT)]
I would never want to say that life is simple, but there are things which are far simpler than we’ve made them. This passage from Isaiah (a book which we sometimes make more complicated than it is, I think) is terribly clear.
God (who cannot renege on His promises) declares that He perfectly keeps all who trust in Him in His perfect peace. So, if my peace is not perfect, then the issue is my trust. My usual response to peace-less-ness is to try to change my circumstances, but this passage implies that such a strategy is not essentially sound.
This next sentence (verse 4) reiterates the reality that God is (love this metaphor) the eternal Rock. Sure. Immovable. Reliable. Trustworthy. And this is embedded in the re-invitaiton command to “trust in the Lord always.” Always. Eternal.
At this point the question that comes to mind when I’ve got the margin to be asking questions is “How do I trust in God? What does that look like? How do I know if I’m trusting or just pretending to trust?” From the first couple of statements, I could suggest that my trust is proven by my peace–and there is truth in that. But, honestly, I can fake peace and fool myself. Some of the time, anyhow.
The last sentence (verse 8) is simple (though not easy, I suppose): trust demonstrates or proves itself in obedience — and obedience rightly motivated. God’s glory is our rightful motivation for obeying God’s laws. Only within the context of grace can that be possible.
If I am living in the belief that the percentage of my obedience is the measure by which my future salvation will be handed out, then my obedience is a work I do in order to earn a wage. If my present and future salvation is a gift (which it is, according to Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:8-9), then the reason for my obedience is to honor the One I obey.
And suddenly I’m hearing Bob Dylan’s “You’ve Gotta Serve Somebody.”
Who do I honor with my obedience?
And in doing so, whom do I serve?
To whom am I turning for peace?
We only get one answer