The Peace of God: Better than a Mountain Brook

1 Samuel 17:37

Go, and may the Lord be with you!

Philippians 4:7

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The waterfront near Veria (Berea), Greece - a beautiful and peaceful scene

The waterfront near Veria (Berea), Greece – a beautiful and peaceful scene

I have a somewhat silly tradition of watching the movie Independence Day every year on the Fourth of July. Our family actually saw the movie when it came out — on Independence Day 1996. In that movie the President makes a rousing speech to motivate the people to fight to save their lives. He says, in part, “We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive!” With that the citizens of Earth mount a defense and ultimately win back their independence from an alien invasion from outer space.

In the texts above, Saul is sending David into battle against the Philistine giant, Goliath. His word is two-fold: Go and be protected by God’s presence. God’s presence allows David to go into battle with confidence. Paul is writing to the Philippian Christians to thank them for their financial support and to encourage them to remain faithful, seeking God’s provision and peace. The fuller context of this verse is his “blank check on prayer” invitation: “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

Some would seek peace in the shade of a mighty oak tree, or in the quiet babbling of a mountain stream. While those are restful and peaceful places, God’s peace is not limited to quiet and restful places. God’s presence brings peace in the face of battle, and in the throes of daily life. This is a true gift: God’s peace that passes all that our minds can produce is something that guards us in times of battle or moments of rest.

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