Read Isaiah 59
Focus on verse 8
Why is there no peace? Why does it seem like the harder we try to find peace the more elusive peace becomes? Politicians have lengthy summit meetings, the United Nations sends out peacekeepers, yet the world is no more peaceful than it was a thousand years ago. There have been brief times in isolated places where peace has at least seemed to be evident for a time. It would seem that at least part of the solution seems to be related to people finding peace within their own hearts and minds.
There is only one source I know of that can bring true peace to the heart of humanity. In today’s reading Isaiah observes, “The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace.” (v. 8) This is an observation of the people of Israel at a point when they had abandoned the worship of God to pursue some of the false gods of the cultures around them. In the verse that follows Isaiah begins with the word “therefore” indicating that what was described in the prior verses is the reason that they find themselves in the condition described in the following verses. He says, “Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we hope for light, and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.” (v. 9)
When we abandon God we abandon peace. When there is no peace within the heart of a person, it typically is not long before that lack of peace becomes evident in the attitudes and actions of that person. When the people of a nation abandon God, it is typically not long before they abandon peace within the borders of the nation. It is also typically not long before that lack of peace spills over the borders into surrounding nations.
The personal application here is that without God we cannot experience inner peace, which manifests itself in our attitudes and actions, which then bring discord and conflict to everything and everyone around us. When we find the peace of God within our hearts – this likewise soon becomes evident to those around us. I remember a popular bumper sticker from a few years back that read:
“No Jesus – No peace”
“Know Jesus – Know peace”.
I have yet to discover a more concise and accurate way to convey this truth.