Apr 29, 2018 05:11AM
● By Bonnie Lyn Smith
Isaiah 52:7, ESV
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns."
I’m an author, editor, and publisher by trade. Words make me crazy-happy—well, the nice ones do anyway. When I read Isaiah 52:7 in the English Standard Version of the Bible for the first time, I almost jumped out of my seat. Publish peace? You can publish peace? Sign me up, Baby! I am all about that.
Part of the reason I love this verse is that within one sentence, it brings clarity to what it means to “publish peace.” It means to say to Zion:
“Your God reigns.”
There is so much yuck-o in this world, that the idea of waking up each day, putting two feet on the ground, and telling the world: “Your God reigns” is extremely appealing to me. I want to have that attitude before coffee even goes down my throat in the morning. Truly, I do. But, I must admit: Much of the time, I need someone to enter my personal swirl of stress and chaos and speak that directly to my heart:
“Bonnie, your God reigns!”
Oh, Amen! That sure is good news, isn’t it? It is the Good News!
But life has this way of clouding that over with dreary April days, trials, worries, heart hurts, fears, disappointments, and other emotional sludge.
Some days I hit the floor and feel that the only thing reigning is bad news: school shootings, senseless terrorist acts, depravity, slavery, oppression, violence, poverty, addiction, and shame.
Yeah, I can be a real bummer in your average table conversation.
But this is exactly why it is important that we remind ourselves and other people that God reigns. He has the final say. It truly is finished (as He spoke of on the cross), and hope has come in our Immanuel, Christ the Lord.
How can you say this, Bonnie? It sure doesn't feel like that.
No, no, it certainly doesn’t. I agree. But our hope is not in what we see in this world but what we know He has done for us and will continue to do. Our publishing peace is declaring a faith that says:
God is sovereign over all circumstances.
There will be an end to evil. And He will help me through the parts I personally must walk through. He will be there with you, too.
1 Timothy 4:10, ESV
For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.
Why must we publish peace? Because for the one who does so, “how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news”! I want to be beautiful to someone because of the Christ I am reflecting. I want to declare the salvation He gave me and all who receive Him. I want to spread the hope that sustains me in a dark world.
Hebrews 10:23, ESV
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
The Bible tells us He is faithful. Our job is to “hold fast.” And if we need His help doing so, we simply cry out: “Abba (Father), help me in my unbelief!” He has done the rest.
1 Peter 3:15, ESV
…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.
I want to be ready, even on the rough days, to “give a reason for the hope that is in me.” If we don’t speak hope, who will? What if publishing peace on any given day saves a life? What if it saves a soul?
When it’s dark, we struggle to see the way ahead. Our situations often convince us we cannot and will not ever move beyond the challenges, difficulties, and pain. We all need help putting our spiritual lenses on. Let us declare what is unseen so that others can finally “see it.”
Hebrews 1:1, ESV
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Perhaps the Apostle Paul said it best when he wrote to the Corinthian church to encourage them about the transient things of this world compared to eternity. It was important to him to express this. Why?
So we do not lose heart.
2 Corinthians 4:15-18, ESV
For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal[emphases mine].
So that we don’t lose heart indeed! That is why we must proclaim the peace of God to one other. We need to remind each other, as well as inform a world of hurting people, that salvation has come! Our God reigns!
Who can you encourage this week by publishing peace to them?
Can you identify a time when someone else speaking great faith into your heart brought you the hope you needed to manage your difficult circumstances?
I leave you with the words of our sweet Jesus:
John 14:27, ESV
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
She is the author of Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day and the founder and editor-in-chief of Ground Truth Press, a book publishing company.