God’s Peace Plan
The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.
Many of us have an entirely wrong idea about peace. We think it can only be found in the absence of hassles, but that’s not the way King David saw it. In this brief psalm, he recounts a few of the wonders of God’s power. He describes a violent thunderstorm that breaks over Lebanon, north of Israel, its lightening shattering the sky and trees and its thunder frightening the animals in the forest. Finally, David reminds us that God showed the power of His hand and His righteous judgement against sin by sending the Flood to destroy the entire population except for Noah and his family.
Out of this power and majesty, God gives His people strength and peace. A heart at rest doesn’t come only from the absence of problems. Far more significantly, God’s peace can be ours any time we focus on His greatness, His involvement with His Creation, and His tender care. With that perception, we can experience God’s peace in the middle of the storms of life. That’s God’s peace plan. Our part is to fill our minds with the wonder of His strength, and as our faith grows, so will our sense of God’s peace.
God takes life’s broken pieces and gives us unbroken peace.
The benefit of a relationship with God is that we have the best of both worlds. In the world to come, we certainly will enjoy all the beauty and splendor of the new heaven and earth. Sin will be forever eradicated. Pain, suffering, sorrow and trouble will not even be memories. What a day, glorious day that will be! We often think that we have to wait for that day to have such blessing but God also offers us blessings in this life as well. We don’t have to wait for some moment in time to have all that the presence of God provides. David, as he describes the natural storms he’s seeing is no doubt comparing them to the storms in his life. He certainly experienced enough of them to give him credibility to talk about them. What we learn from him is that when we direct our attention to the majesty and glory of God, everything else in life is seen in its proper perspective. In the 23rd Psalm, David declares that “goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Even though he went through great trials, some caused by others and some by his own actions, he leaned upon the goodness and mercy of God to sustain him.
Often in our storms we get so busy looking for a reason or placing blame or living in guilt over a poor decision that we forget to look up. Sometimes the battle looks hopeless and the giants so big that fear and helplessness grip our minds and souls. Sometimes all our effort and all our strength aren’t sufficient to get us through the day. The power of walking with God is that in those moments we learn to lean on and trust in Him. One of my favorite verses that I live by is Proverbs 3:5-8
“Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord [with reverent awe and obedience] and turn [entirely] away from evil. It will be health to your body [your marrow, your nerves, your sinews, your muscles—all your inner parts] And refreshment (physical well-being) to your bones.”
What great instructions for us. “Trust and rely confidently on the Lord.” That’s the secret. We look to God for the solution, the way out, the way forward. We rely on His power and His might rather than seeking the ways of the world for Proverbs continues by saying “Do not rely on your insight and understanding.” Oh, how many times do we miss what God has for us because we’re trying to figure it out on our own instead of consulting the One who made us and all that’s in the universe. Don’t we think that God has the wisdom and the answer if we would only ask? James says that if we lack wisdom, we ought to ask for it from God who gives generously. If you are trying to figure out something why don’t you spend the time in prayer consulting with God. Proverbs goes on to say that “in all your ways acknowledge Him.” That means that in everything that affects our lives, the big and the small, the good times and the not so good times, in every situation before we decide or after a bad choice, we ought to make God our first resource. Far too many Christians wait until they are in a mess before they begin to consult with God. I think some of our pain and suffering might be avoided if we were to ask God for wisdom and direction before we make a decision rather than waiting until life blows up and then asking God to put the pieces back together. Having said that, I’m thankful that God in His grace and mercy will get involved even after we’ve made a mess if we will ask Him. Proverbs says, however, if we learn to trust in the Lord, to acknowledge His involvement in out lives that “He will make your paths straight and smooth(removing obstacles that block your way).” I love this promise- He will make a way! We often find our path blocked by some barrier either of our own making or the work of the devil. We could spend vast amounts of time trying to figure out who’s blocking the way or we could just call on heaven for the heavenly bulldozer, the Holy Spirit and watch in amazement as He clears the way. The final lesson that Proverbs gives is to “not be wise in your own eyes.” This is a challenge for many. We really do believe that we know the right thing to say or do, so we plunge ahead with life and all the time we dig the hole deeper until we find ourselves as David would describe it, in the “ pit of miry clay,” trapped and stuck with no visible way out. And yet in that place when we cry out to God He lifts us out of the clay and sets us again on solid ground.
That’s Gods peace plan. To learn to trust Him in everything, every situation. To learn to seek His wisdom, guidance, and direction in every part of life. To learn to lean on His strength and power. To look for goodness and mercy everyday even in the midst of trials. To know that His love is unfailing and and His grace is sufficient and the peace that comes from Him is not due to circumstances but from knowing you are His child.
Dr. John Thompson