Having peaceful hearts is a challenge. Jesus gives a command that we are to not let our hearts be troubled. His command is in the form of a promise in John 14:27, “my peace I give to you.” What our Savior is saying here is in connection with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit who comforts us while He works our salvation (that fancy word sanctification). We are given Christ’s blessing of peace; peace, our assurance that no matter what could trouble us, that we are now new creatures wholly belonging to the trust of a Good Shepherd. Peace between us and our Father is not contingent upon the circumstances that might cause us to fret in the world. Peace between us and the Father it far more important and determines how we interact with the world. We must make this peace our priority… the same way we make sure we have drinkable water while aboard an ocean-liner.
So how can we have assurance of our peace with God? In my recent read through of the Bible I came across a favorite (I know it’s one of Pastor Ken’s as well). The story concerns the interaction between the Moabite king Balak and the pagan prophet Balaam. The narrative reveals something of the trustworthiness of God. Numbers 23:19-20 reads: “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Behold, I received a command to bless: he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.” Balaam goes on then, made aware of the God who is giving these prophetic words, to defend himself for making such assertions to the Moabite king paying his salary, stating, “If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own will. What the Lord speaks, that will I speak” (Num 24:13).
Balaam is an interesting prophet, famous for being the prophet who was reprimanded by a talking donkey. It is at this moment in his profession that he is made fully aware of God’s sovereignty to the point where he recognizes that he could never get away with putting false words in the mouth of God. God’s promise for His people cannot be revoked by anything man says or does. Balaam assures King Balak that he is not going to fear Moab’s power or wealth because those earthly things are nothing in comparison to the power of God.
We are a people holding to the doctrine of the Triune God. We believe that the God of the Old Testament is in fact the same trinitarian God of the New Testament. When Jesus speaks in John 14 that He gives us His peace, He is really saying that nothing need get in the way of it. Our trust in Him is the trust in His promise to us that nothing will revoke His love for us. When Jesus died and rose again He did it so that we might have peace from His Spirit, peace in the assurance that nothing will ever separate us from His promise of love. We have security in His faithfulness not in our own.
When we are challenged in our hearts, when we are troubled, that is the moment when we run to Him for assurance…not from Him in fear. Even in groans, we can go to God because His Spirit translates our otherwise indistinguishable sighs (Rom 8:26); as a parent I have many of those! If you are struggling with peace or if you are in a season of great peace, either way let us praise God and reach to Him in the power of His Spirit today, meditating on His eternal faithfulness.
Pastor Chris Osterbrock
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers