You will keep whoever’s mind is steadfast in perfect peace, because he trusts in you. Trust in Yahweh forever; for in Yah, Yahweh, is an everlasting Rock.Isaiah 26:3-4
Hebrew is an interesting language from our Western perspective, because it is a language of concrete terms and phrases. While we can entertain abstract thought and concepts in our modern languages, Hebrew deals with reality images, things that can be observed, touched, or felt.
“Forever” is one of those abstract terms we find a lot in the English versions of the Writings, yet this phrase has a richer and deeper meaning when understood from the original languages. Translated literally, this phrase comes across something like “to the vanishing point,” or “that which is concealed.” This is a more tangible way of saying that which exists beyond what we can see or know about.
Another unique aspect of this term is that it is used of both what we would call the future and the past; it is the whole understanding of time from beginning to end, or more accurately, from horizon to horizon. Once you go over the horizon in either direction, you disappear and can no longer be seen. With its modifier, it conveys the idea of everlasting or perpetual. Not just something that exists from some point in time forward, but its perpetuity exists in both directions, past and future, horizon to horizon. It just always has been.
This is how Yahweh is described, as a Rock, a cliff or mountainside; an image of something massive and immovable. He is described not just as eternal like living forever, but as always having existed, present now, and always existing beyond the horizon of what we can see and know.
Because this is the true nature of Yahweh, Isaiah promotes trusting in him. In the picturesque speech of Hebrew phrasing, he never moves, never changes, stands towering over generation after generation, always visible and present.
Shalom is another one of those Hebrew phrases that conveys so more than what we can convey in English. It is peace in the sense of completeness or wholeness, as a cup that is perfectly full of liquid and needs no more. It includes all of the concepts like health, safety, prosperity, and rest. A person who has, or is, shalom is 100% of everything intended for human existence. That is a powerful word, and one that is sorely needed in our world today.
Isaiah says by placing our whole-hearted and constant trust in Yahweh, we can experience peace: shalom. And not just peace, but literally peace-peace: shalom-shalom. It comes across in English typically as “perfect peace.” What deeper desire in human hearts could possibly be lacking from this state of shalom-shalom; doubly full, doubly content, doubly complete?
This is what we can experience in this life when our trust is steadfast in Yahweh. He is the immovable, imposing, always-present Rock that provides every need so completely that we can be completely whole, twice over.
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