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Peace and order

“The LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, says: I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good and leads you along the paths you should follow. Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling like waves.” — Isaiah 48:17-18

Diplomats work toward a “lasting peace” in the trouble spots of the world. Worried parents long for “peace of mind” when their children are in trouble. And the harried businessman sailing his yacht wants nothing more than “a little peace.” There is nothing more attractive to the human race than peace—and nothing more elusive.

God had problems with His chosen people. He could not always get them to listen to Him, and when they did listen they were often incapable of understanding what He was saying. Even when they understood, they did not necessarily do what He said. So the result was chaos. Now, we know that God is not a God of confusion but a God of order (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40). So the chaos is not by His desire or design.

God addressed the issue through His prophet Isaiah: “Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling like waves” (Isaiah 48:18). God’s promise of peace is directly related to observance of His principles. If the human race wants peace they can have it, but it comes at a price. The price is refusing to do things man’s way and being willing to do things God’s way.

This message to God’s ancient people should be heeded today. We have engineered much chaos, and God calls us to order—to peace. We tend to question what God says is “good” and to doubt the path He chooses. So we go our own way and do our own thing, which results in varying degrees of chaos. We tend to regard God’s commands as onerous and His dictates as restrictive, if not destructive, of human happiness.

People expend vast energy resisting God’s commands—arguing with them, breaking them, and enthusiastically engaging in activities and attitudes that fly in the teeth of them. A brief review of the commandments will confirm this to be true! Yet when God gave the commandments to His people, Moses told them, “Obey the Lord’s commands and laws that I am giving you today for your own good” (Deuteronomy 10:13). God’s commands are for our good!

When things are done God’s way, that’s the right way, and things run as He intended, like a well-maintained machine. But disobedience throws a wrench into the works and puts sand in the gears. Profound disorder ensues! And disorder is the antithesis of peace.

But where does order come from? From ordering our life according to the orders of the God of order—and that’s an order!

For further study: Isaiah 48:12-22