“TheProphetic PEACE”

Isaiah 9:6-7

Do: I can let go of the world’s standards for my life and press into living in peace with God.

Today we are continuing in our series called Behold: A Savior Is Born. Last week, we talked about how Jesus was born a humble servant. We looked at how his life and death were marked by humility and vulnerability and gave us a guide for our lives. This morning, we are going to focus on His prophetic peace and how that offers us true peace for life.

One of my favorite times of Christmas is sitting in the living room with the Christmas tree lights on at night. There is such a quiet peace there as I reflect on the light of Jesus Christ in the world. 

This peace was promised long ago and now is a reality for us through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

There is a book written by Beth Moore, called Breaking Free. It is a beautiful depiction of some of the prophetic words written in the book of Isaiah. She talks about victory, and how to find ultimate peace in relationship with God. I am going to share a particular excerpt about peace that I have found equally as beautiful as it is helpful.

She writes, “What do you suppose would happen if we paid attention to God’s commands? We don’t have to wonder, because He told us clearly: ‘If only you had paid attention to my commands: your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.’ (Isa. 48:18).

Consider the following applications as you imagine peace like a river. A river is a moving stream of water. God’s Word does not say we will have peace like a pond. If we were honest, we might admit to thinking of peaceful people as boring. We might think, I’d rather forgo peace and have an exciting life! When was the last time you saw white-water rapids? Few bodies of water are more exciting than rivers! We can have active, exciting lives without suffering through a life of turmoil. To have peace like a river is to have security and tranquility while meeting many bumps and unexpected turns on life’s journey. 

Peace is submission to a trustworthy authority, 

not resignation from activity.

A river is a body of fresh water fed by springs or tributary streams. To experience peace, we must be feeding our relationship with God. I’ve found that I can’t retain peace in the present by relying on a relationship from the past. As a river is continually renewed with the moving waters of springs and streams, so our peace comes from an active, ongoing, obedient relationship with the Prince of Peace. This and other Bible references are examples of ways God desires to feed a peaceful river in your soul.

A river begins and ends with a body of water. Every river has an upland source and an ultimate outlet or mouth. Rivers depend on, and are always connected to, other bodies of water. Similarly, peace like a river flows from a continuous connection with the upland source, Jesus Christ. This is a timely reminder that our life will ultimately spill out into a glorious eternal life. The present life is not our destination, hallelujah! 

We who know Christ move over rocks and sometimes cliffs, through narrow places and wide valleys to a heavenly destination. Until then, abiding in Christ (John 15:4) is the key to staying deliberately connected with our upland source.

Take pleasure in knowing that God inspired His Word with great care and immaculate precision. He chose every word purposely. When He said we could have peace like a river in Isaiah 48:18, He was not drawing a loose analogy. He meant it. 

What does it take to have this peace? 

Attention to God’s commands (by obedience) through the power of the Holy Spirit. Obedience to God’s authority not only brings peace like a river but righteousness like the waves of the sea. 

Not righteous perfection. Righteous consistency.

Peace should be something we all desire, and it is something that God promises to us. Peace like a river is an active moving peace. It is not still or stagnant, it is dynamic and powerful in our lives. Christmas is a time that reminds us that the arrival of Jesus brings us deep and abiding peace.

In Isaiah 9:6-7, we heard how the prophet Isaiah was speaking to God’s people who were losing their way and in need of hope and peace. He gave them a prophetic promise that predicted the birth of a child, Jesus. This child, that Isaiah tells his readers about, is described in terms that inspire awe and reverence: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” This is a passage of scripture often shared during Christmas time each year. Within these festive verses, we uncover the profound significance of the title “Prince of Peace.”

Peace is a timeless concept. It is something humanity has desired throughout history—a respite from the storms of conflict, chaos, and discord. From ancient times all the way up to modern day, people have longed for a sense of calm… a respite from the insanity of the world. But the peace promised in Isaiah 9 is not an ordinary peace; it is the peace that transcends human understanding. It is the peace that can only come from the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. The phrase, Peace that Surpasses Understanding is shared and spoken over people in times of hardship. Peace that surpasses understanding is simply the peace our hearts feel when we are in relationship with Jesus…And what better time to celebrate that peace than during the holidays as we journey towards Christmas morning.

The “Prince of Peace” was prophesied hundreds of years prior to the birth of Jesus. Christmas is a time to celebrate that Jesus has in fact arrived. 

He has brought with Him the promise of peace. The promise that in spite of everything going on around us, we can access divine peace through Jesus. In the gospel of John we see Jesus speak about this role that was given to Him by God, John 14:27,

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

What an unbelievable message: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” Jesus distinguishes His peace from the fleeting peace offered by the world. It is a peace grounded in eternal truths and the presence of the Savior. There is a difference between God’s peace and peace the world offers.

This is an important distinction because it is what we celebrate during Christmas. One form of peace will leave us wanting, but the other will offer us deep fulfillment.

Imagine standing on the shore of a vast, tumultuous sea. The waves crash against the rocks and the waves are choppy. The sea is a metaphor for the world we live in—a realm of constant motion, uncertainty, and chaos. In this, we often seek solace and tranquility, to find peace amidst life’s storms.

In this analogy, worldly peace is like a small boat built by human hands. It is meticulously designed, with polished wood, gleaming paint, and ornate decorations. It is beautiful to look at. This boat represents the various avenues society offers us to find peace. These might include material wealth, social status, or temporary pleasures. They are alluring, promising moments of respite from the stormy seas. 

As we embark on this vessel, it provides a semblance of peace. It shields us from the immediate onslaught of waves, offering a brief respite from the turmoil. We feel a sense of security and control, believing that we have found the answer to the chaotic sea of life. However, this worldly peace is fragile and fleeting. When the storm grows fiercer, the boat begins to sway and creak under the pressure. Its ornate features start to fade, revealing its weakness. We realize that its capacity to provide lasting peace is limited, unable to withstand the full force of all life has to offer.

In stark contrast, God’s peace can be understood as a lighthouse standing tall amidst the crashing waves. It is sturdy, solid, but not as flashy as the beautiful boat. Its foundation is unshakeable. It is rooted in the solid rock of God’s unchanging nature. The light shining from the lighthouse pierces through the darkness, offering guidance and assurance to all who seek it. 

This lighthouse symbolizes the peace that transcends understanding, a peace that is not dependent on external circumstances. It is a peace that flows from a deep and abiding relationship with the Prince of Peace. Just as the lighthouse stands firm amidst the storm, God’s peace remains unwavering in the face of life’s trials.

As we navigate the seas of life, we are presented with a choice: to place our trust in the frail boat of worldly peace or to seek refuge in the steadfast lighthouse of God’s peace. The boat may offer a temporary escape, but it ultimately leaves us vulnerable and adrift.

On the other hand, God’s peace provides a sanctuary of calm amidst life’s storms, anchoring us in His unchanging love and sovereignty.

In the end, we are invited to exchange the fragile vessel of worldly peace for the enduring refuge of God’s peace. 

It is a peace that surpasses all understanding, a peace that sustains us through the fiercest storms and trials, and a peace that leads us safely to the shores of a relationship with the God of the universe who is in total control. With that in mind, may we choose to anchor our lives in the unshakable lighthouse of God’s peace, trusting that He will guide us safely through the stormy seas of life.

There is a bit more in John 14 that I want us to look at.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Sounds good, but how?

How can we live in peace? In peace with others? In peace with ourselves? And peace in our relationship with God? 

Let’s explore how we can live in peace, drawing wisdom from the Scriptures. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:7,

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

The first thing we can do is recognize the source of our peace. Is our peace based on how our day went or how the baby slept? Is our peace based on how traffic was on the way to work or how the weather is? It is a peace that does not make sense in our normal way of doing things. It guards our hearts and minds. These are two of the most vulnerable parts of who we are. In Isaiah 9, we are reminded that Jesus is the giver of peace, and to live in peace we must recognize that ultimate peace originates from Him. In Philippians 4:7 we read that the peace of God is found….. IN CHRIST. 

It has nothing to do with us or our worldly possessions and achievements, but everything to do with our relationship with Him.

Another way we can find the peace we are craving is by seeking and embracing inner stillness. Jesus gives us access to calm and inner stillness when we draw near to Him. This can be achieved by practicing simple breath prayers or journaling. Especially when things get tough or chaotic, it is helpful to have strategies to calm your inner world and find the divine peace offered in Christ.

We also need to trust God and prioritize prayer… Trust that He is who He says He is, and “Cast all our care on Him because He cares for us!” (1 Peter 5:7) Through prayer we cast our cares on the one being in the universe who can help us in every way with every last problem or anxiety we have. 

And that’s good news, especially in the holiday season when it can begin to feel like we’re running around crazy just trying to make it to every last appointment and get every last gift. To experience God’s peace, we must spend time with Him, and there’s no better time than the present to seek the presence of Christ… 

The Prince of Peace.

Living in peace, as outlined in Isaiah 9:6-7 and John 14:27, is a transformative journey. It involves recognizing Jesus as the source of peace, embracing inner tranquility, trusting in God’s sovereignty, practicing forgiveness, pursuing holistic well-being, choosing contentment, and prioritizing prayer and meditation.

I know that’s a lot of things to think about, and I know that many of you probably have some Christmas shopping left to do… 

But against all odds I trust that as you apply these principles to your life, you will experience the profound and enduring peace that can only come from the Prince of Peace, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Let’s be intentional about slowing down to savor the moments we have with God. It is in those unhurried moments that we find the nourishment, guidance, and purpose our souls truly crave. It’s in those moments that we can truly enjoy the greatest gift of all, 

Immanuel, God with us.

Let’s pray together.