April 21, 2008
There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked
by Pastor George Van Alstine
It seemed the other way around, when the prophet Isaiah spoke these words. Those who were trying to be faithful to God were being overwhelmed by the oppression of âthe wicked,â? those who had no regard for Godâs law and Godâs will. In spite of this systematic injustice, God guarantees the faithful ones, through Isaiah, comfort, and healing and fruit (verses 2, 18, 19). Best of all, he promises them peace:
âPeace, peace to the far and the near, says the Lord.â?Â (verse 19)
This peace he promises is not freedom from oppression, for they will continue to be vulnerable, easy targets for those who have no regard for Godâs way. The peace God promises is the deep, inner satisfaction that comes from being in harmony with Godâs values and purposes.
By contrast, the wicked cannot know peace. This is not because God judges and punishes them, but because they are punished by their own actions. The root meaning of the Hebrew word used for âthe wickedâ? is âloose.â? The evolution of the wordâs meaning seems to be that, when people become âlooseâ? with Godâs law, with societyâs standards, with their familyâs values, they behave in ways which both God and humans consider to be âwicked.â?
This âlooseâ? idea behind the Hebrew word for âwickedâ? may have inspired the powerful metaphor Isaiah uses in verse 20:
âThe wicked are like the tossing sea that cannot keep still; its waters toss up mire and mud.â?
When a person has no anchor, no solid point of attachment, he or she is never truly in control. Every wave, every gust of wind has determining power. Itâs ironic that a person who by a mighty effort breaks free from God is never truly free, butÂ a slave to raw natural forces, like the wind and waves of sickness, financial loss, failed relationships, doubt, worry and fear. All kinds of âmire and mudâ? can be stirred up in the turmoil.
The peace that God promises canât be touched by any of these, because it is anchored in the unchangeable goodness of God himself. He is lavish in spreading to all who open themselves to his love
âPeace, peace to the far and the near.â?
âThere is no peace for the wicked.â?