"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You" (Isaiah 26:3).
This is a verse I call to mind whenever I'm tossing and turning trying to fall asleep at night. It's a beautiful promise of God's peace to individual believers. From this section of Scripture—Isaiah 26—let's look at five fundamentals of that personal peace.
1. Personal peace is found in God. The first four verses of Isaiah 26 make up a song of praise, and the theme is the Lord. He is the source of the promise. I've discovered that most people define peace as the absence of something: war, strife, conflict. But true peace is actually the presence of someone: God Himself.
2. Personal peace is forecast for the kingdom. The context of this passage is the prophetic setting of the millennial kingdom, the 1,000-year reign of Christ on the earth. The little phrase "in that day" in verse 1 refers to this far-off event, which will take place after the tribulation. Because the Messiah will be ruling and reigning from Jerusalem during that time, there will be absolute peace in the land and in His people's hearts.
3. Personal peace will flourish with virtue. Notice the relationship between peace and righteousness in verse 2: "Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in." These are people who keep the truth, who remain faithful. Peace is a by-product of right living, a fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22). Conversely, sin will rob you of peace quicker than anything else (see Isaiah 48:22; 57:21). That's why confessing it is so important.
4. Personal peace is fostered by focus—by what you contemplate. In Hebrew, the phrase "perfect peace" in verse 3 is literally shalom shalom—"peace peace." Doubling the word intensifies its meaning, so this refers to a deep, satisfying, settled peace. And you get it by "staying" your mind—by fixing or concentrating it steadfastly—on the Lord. This is the mind that's been disciplined to focus on His love, His power, and His care, rather than being easily disrupted by outside thoughts.
5. Personal peace is formed by trust. "You will keep him in perfect peace…because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever" (vv. 3-4). Why trust the Lord? Because He's trustworthy, and you'll walk away with His perfect peace. As Isaiah 30 reminds us, "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength" (v. 15).
It seems to me that we live in an era where we are given two choices: trust or torment. Either we say, "God is sovereign, and I trust Him," or we choose torment. Most people in the world opt for torment. But we're called to trust in the Lord. So fix your mind on Him. Meditate on His truth, His promises—the good news of the gospel. And you'll walk away from that with His perfect peace.