THIS is a verse from “the song of a city.” This song of a city may, however, belong to us as much as to the men of Judah. We were once unguarded from spiritual evil, and we spent our days in constant fear; but the Lord has found for us a city of defence, a castle of refuge. Let us sing this morning, “We have a strong city.” The man that hath come into fellowship with God through the atoning sacrifice, hath gotten into a place of perfect safety, where he may dwell, ay, dwell for ever, without fear of assault. We are no longer hunted by hosts of fears, and trodden down by dark despairs; but “We have a strong city” which overawes the foe, and quiets ourselves. Our gospel hymns are the songs of men who, in the truest spiritual sense, have seen an end of alarm, by accepting God’s provision against trouble of heart.
Now, when we get as far as this,— a strong city, and a city into which we have entered, we are still further glad to learn who the keeper and garrison of that city may be, for a city needs to be kept while there are so many foes abroad. To render all secure there needs to be some leader and commander for the people, who has strength with which to man the walls, and drive off besiegers. Our text tells us how securely this strong city will be held— so securely that none of her citizens shall ever be disturbed in heart, — "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.”
WHAT IS THIS PERFECT PEACE? At this moment, having believed in Jesus Christ, we have entered into rest, and we have perfect peace as to our former sins. We have by faith arrived at a state of perfect reconciliation with God. The divine Fatherhood has covered us. We inherit the spirit of children, the spirit of love and of unquestioning confidence. Everything is quiet, for we dwell in our Father’s house.
Look downward, and you discover no hell, for there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. Look back, and sin is blotted out. Look around, and all things work together for good to them that love God. Look beyond, and glory shineth through the veil of the future, like the sun through a morning’s mist. Look inward, and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keeps our hearts and minds by Christ Jesus. The Lord leadeth us by still waters at such happy times, along that road of which we read, “No lion shall be there.” God saith to you, “Peace, peace,” and He will keep you there if your mind is stayed on Him.
Observe, that Christ has taken possession of you, and you are His; neither will He lose you, but He will hold you single-handed against the world, and death, and hell. Observe, too, that your heavenly Father rules in providence, giving you what you need, for He has said, “No good thing will I withhold from them that walk uprightly.” If truth is to be found beneath the stars, it is in the peace which comes through the precious blood of the Son of God.
You may be put in circumstances of a very trying kind, especially you may be brought to the brink of death, and yet, dear friend, the God in whom you trust will not fail you. Your heart rests on His promises and faithfulness, and there is no reason why its peace should be broken.
If you have perfect peace, you have fellowship with all the saints: personal jealousies, sectarian bitternesses, and unholy emulations are all laid aside. Better still, there is a sweet peace between the heart and its God when from day to day, by prayer and praise, we commune with the Most High.
Perfect resignation to the Divine will - If you quarrel with God, your peace is at an end; but when you say, “It is the Lord; let Him do what seemeth Him good,” you have obtained one of the main elements of perfect peace. When the Lord’s will is owned and loved, all ground for quarrel is over: the peace must be deep. It consists also in sweet confidence in God, when there is not the shadow of doubt about anything God does, for you are sure of this, if of nothing else, that He must be true, that He must be right and kind, and in all things better to you than you are to yourself. Then to leave everything with God, trusting in Him for ever, because in Him there is everlasting strength — this is peace. Then comes a blessed contentment; we want no more, we have enough. “The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him.” Having Him, my desires all stay at home with Him.
I hope you know this peace; and if you do, I need not tell you it means freedom from everything like despondency. Thus we are kept from everything like rashness: resting in God, we are not in sinful haste; we can wait God’s time to deliver us, knowing that there is love in every second of the delay. We do not kick, as the untutored bullock kicks against the goad, but we push on the more eagerly with our furrow, toiling on to the end, till God shall appear for us. Thus we are saved from the temptations which come with our trials.
WHO ALONE CAN GIVE US THIS PEACE, AND PRESERVE IT IN US? The answer is in the words of the song, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace.” See, it is God himself that can give us this peace, and keep us in it. There is an operation of God upon the human mind, mysterious and inscrutable, of which the effects are manifest enough; and among those effects is this, a quiet of heart, a calm of spirit, which never comes in any other way. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace.” The Creator of our mind knows how to operate upon it by His Holy Spirit.
Depend upon it, dear friend, if you are tossed up and down, like the locust, you will only find peace by flying to the fields of Scripture. In this garden of the Lord, flowers are blooming which yield a balm for every wound of the heart. Never was there a lock of soul-trouble yet, but what there was a key to open it in the Word of God. For our pain, here is an anodyne; for our darkness, a lamp; for our loneliness, a friend. It is like the garden of Eden: a double river of peace glideth through it. Turn you then to the Lord’s Word, to prayer, to praise, or some form of holy service, and God will thus keep you in perfect peace. When a man’s ways please the Lord, He maketh even His enemies to be at peace with him.
Do not seek peace by praying for the absence of trial. You may be just as happy in affliction as out of it, if the Lord be with you. Do not seek peace by cultivating hardness of heart, and indifference of spirit. No, when you are afflicted, you ought to feel it: God means you should; and you must learn to feel it, and yet be fully at peace. Do not imagine you can get peace by philosophy, or by considerations derived from reason, or by knowledge fetched from experience. There is but one well from which you can draw the sweet waters of perfect peace, and it bears about its rim this dainty inscription — “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, O Jehovah.”
In God is rest, but in none else. Let us commit ourselves, and all that we are, and all that we have, and all that we have to do, and all that we have to suffer, to the care of our loving God, casting all our care upon Him, for He careth for us. Here we are in God, and here we mean to abide. To rest in God’s Word, to rejoice in God’s covenant, to trust in the divine sacrifice, to be conformed to God’s will, to delight in God's self— this is to stay yourself upon God, and the consequence of it is perfect peace.
Excerpted from a sermon titled “The Song of a City, and the Pearl of Peace” (Isaiah 26: 3) by CH Spurgeon dated 4 January 1885. You are encouraged to read the full text of the sermon from https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/the-song-of-a-city-and-the-peril-of-peace/#flipbook/