“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.”Isaiah 48:18
If only. Can you hear God’s desperation for His people in those words? I have lived in that place of “if only” when I ignored the Lord and followed my own desires. And I had no peace. If only we will obey the Lord, our peace will flow continuously like a river, unceasingly like the waves of the sea.
Often the struggle to obey is within. Many of us identify with Paul who said, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15). We echo his sentiment in verse 24: “What a wretched man am I! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” The blessed answer is this: “Thanks be to God— through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (v. 25)
Jesus did for us what we cannot accomplish on our own. He lived a life of perfect obedience for us and paid the penalty for our sin. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Even when we’re not faithful, He forever will be, just as surely as the steady waves of the sea.
Let us not grieve the Lord and turn to the “idols” of the world, but give thanks for His provision of peace in Christ Jesus.