Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: If everybody is looking for peace, why is it so hard to find sometimes? Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth talking about the only true source of peace, God Himself.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: That peace—the peace of God, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. It’s like a fortress. It’s a place that no one else can get into. Nothing else can trouble or overcome you there. It’s the eye of the storm. It’s a garrison around our minds and around our emotions.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A Place of Quiet Rest, for Friday, January 5, 2018.

You could look at North Korea, Iraq, and right within the borders of the United States, and wonder, "Will this earth ever see peace?" But the truth is, conflict doesn't just mark nations of the world. You also see it in homes and in hearts. Nancy will show you the one true source of peace, continuing in the series, "The Lord Bless You and Keep You."

Nancy: I think one of the qualities and gifts that the world is most in search of today is peace. As I talk with women, I think that’s one of the qualities that women in particular are most searching for. They want peace in their heart. They want peace in their homes. They want peace in their relationships. They want their world to be peaceful rather than stressed out.

Isn’t it amazing how many places we turn to find peace, and yet it seems to elude most people? If you look at most people around you—most of us, and I have to include myself in this category a lot of the time—you don’t think of a lot of people as being peaceful people especially in this very chaotic, hurried, stressed out, fractured relationship sort of world that we live in.

As we come to the high priestly blessing and prayer in Numbers 6, we come now to a prayer—a request, a petition —or the peace of God. I’m so glad this was included because it’s one of the things we need most. It’s one of the things we most long for. Because this request is part of a prayer to the Lord for His blessing, we see the source of true peace. Those of us who have been looking in all the wrong places, unsuccessfully, to find peace—when we come to this prayer, we find that the God of this prayer—the God of blessing is the God of all peace.

We’ve been looking at this priestly blessing or prayer in Numbers 6. Let’s read it so we get this request in context. Verse 24 of Numbers 6, “The Lord bless you and keep you.” That’s a prayer for protection—protection from evil, protection from the evil one. God is our keeper.

Then we saw in the last session that it is a request for the presence of God. “The Lord make his face to shine upon you . . . the Lord lift up his countenance upon you” (vv. 25-26a). "Lord, we want Your smile. We want Your pleasure. We want Your presence in our lives."

Then we saw the request for pardon from sin. “Lord, be gracious to us” (paraphrase). "We need Your grace, when we see all that the light of Your countenance exposes in our lives. Give us Your pardon."

Then we come to that last phrase in verse 26: “And [may the Lord] give you peace.” The Lord bless you. The Lord give you peace.

That’s the word shalom in Hebrew. It’s a word that was used as a common form of greeting. Shalom! The Lord bless you. Peace be to you. It’s a word that speaks of well-being, of contentment. It’s a word that speaks of health and security and tranquility, friendship, peace with God, peace with man, peace here on earth, and peace with heaven. It’s a word of completeness.

It’s a word that has to do with God’s covenant relationship with us. He makes it possible for two warring factions, that is us and God, to come together and have peace. Again, we see that Christ is the fulfillment of this prayer. He is the blessing. He is our peace. He is the one who came from heaven to earth and gave His life on the cross so that He could bridge the infinite gap between heaven and earth.

We never could have come near to God. We never could have spent eternity in His presence. We were born bent against God. We were His enemies. Jesus came and bridged that gap on the cross of Calvary and said, “Through me you can have peace with God.”

But not only does He give us peace with God, He also promises us that we can have the peace of God guarding our hearts and our minds in a troubled world, where there isn’t much peace.

I think of that passage in John 14 where Jesus was speaking to His disciples as He was getting ready to go to the cross and then back to heaven. He had lived with them for three years of ministry on earth. They had developed a close, intimate friendship and relationship and now He was trying to help them understand why He was leaving and that in this world they were going to have trouble.

He starts in John 14:1 in that very familiar verse where Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”

Then He comes down to verse 27, and He gives them a precious blessing—a precious gift as He’s getting ready to leave this earth. He says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.” I think He is saying that the peace that the world gives you is fragile. We have peace accords, and we have peace prizes, and we have people striving for world peace, but it’s fragile at best.

Think of what is happening in the Middle East and the attempts to bring about peace. People sign an agreement and the next day they’re out there breaking it. He says, “I don’t give you peace the way the world gives it to you.” He says, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:24).

Then the apostle Paul picks up on that same theme in the book of Philippians chapter 4. He is talking to people who are experiencing real life crises. He says to them, “Don’t be anxious about anything” (v. 6). Don’t let anything steal your peace.

“But,” he says, “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (v. 6). What will happen when you do? “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding . . .” (v. 7). It’s incomprehensible.

How many times have we experienced that as we’ve cried out to the Lord and we’ve given up to Him our heavy-heartedness, our griefs, the things that are troubling us, the things that we’re anxious about? We cry out to Him; we make our requests known to Him. We give Him thanks and what happens? There is unexplainable peace.

I had that peace when I was sitting in the memorial service just days after my dad went to be with the Lord. It doesn’t mean there was peace without tears or without an enormous sense of loss. But with the loss, with the grieving, with the tears there was the peace of God that you can’t explain.

“It surpasses all understanding,” he says, and that peace of God, “will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (v. 7). It’s like a fortress. It’s a place that no one else can get into. Nothing else can trouble or overcome you there. It’s the eye of the storm. It’s a garrison around our minds and around our emotions that otherwise would be so troubled.

Then he goes on to say in verse 8, “Whatever things are true and honorable and just and pure and lovely, think about these things” (paraphrase). Dwell on these things. Don’t dwell on your troubling circumstances. Dwell on the eternal realities of God’s goodness, His faithfulness, His character, and His ways. The God of peace, or as He’s called in the book of Hebrews, the God of all peace, will be with you in the midst of those circumstances, in the midst of every situation (see Heb. 13:20).

That kind of peace—the peace of God—the God of peace that we experience is the fruit of the Spirit isn’t it? It’s not something that we can experience naturally. If we were to experience what is natural, we would live in constant turmoil. But we can have peace—peace with God, the peace of God and peace with one another in our human relationships, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace (see Gal. 5:22).

If you want the peace of God—you want it in your heart, you want it in your relationships, you want it in your home—you need to be filled with the Spirit of God. As you’re filled with His Spirit, you are operating not on your own strength, not in your own efforts, not in your own energy, but in the power, in the strength, and in the life that He gives, You will find that God can turn those troubled waters to peaceful ones.

Picture Jesus standing in that boat with you on that stormy sea. When it’s time, when it’s His way and His pleasure, He’ll speak the word and He’ll say, “Peace be still.” Even before those waters settle down, the storm around you may keep raging. It may not be His pleasure to stop the waves at that moment. The Scripture says, “He stirs up the waves and He settles them,” but He decides when and what to do (Jer. 31:35, paraphrase). But even when the waves are surging there can be peace.

Have you ever noticed that virtually all of the New Testament Epistles start with a benediction? If you’ll think to the first verses of most of those New Testament letters, you’ll remember that they begin with a greeting—that’s a blessing. It almost always uses the words grace and peace.

Romans 1:7: “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from [where?] God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

First Corinthians 1:3: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

As Paul prays these prayers and gives these blessings to the churches that he’s writing these letters, he’s really invoking the priestly blessing that we’ve been studying in Numbers chapter 6.

Let’s review that blessing. God said to Moses, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, 'Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, "The Lord bless you and keep you"'" (vv. 23–24). That’s a prayer for the protection of God. “The Lord make his face to shine upon you and lift up his countenance upon you” (vv. 25–26, paraphrase). That’s a prayer for God’s presence.

Then those other two requests: “The Lord be gracious to you,” a prayer for God’s pardon, and “The Lord give you his peace” (vv. 25–26). Grace and peace. I’m reminded that God has made us to be priests. This isn’t a blessing that we just look to somebody else to pray for us. God has made us priests able to pray this blessing for others.

But before we can pray it for others, we have to receive it for ourselves. We have a High Priest in heaven, the Lord Jesus, who has prayed and is praying this blessing over us. He has prayed that the Lord would bless us and keep us and cause His face to shine upon us and be gracious to us and give us His peace. Grace and peace. They come to us from God. He’s the One who blesses. They come to us through Jesus Christ His Son.

If we’re looking for parents or a mate or children or a job or a friend or a church to be the ultimate means of grace and peace in our lives, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. Grace and peace come to us from the Lord.

When God has poured His grace and His peace out upon your life, then you’re going to have a full cup, a full tank, the overflow of which is going to minister grace and peace and blessing to those around you.

Now this entire benediction, as we’ve been looking at it, is fulfilled in the Lord Jesus. He is the One who came to this earth to bless us. Acts 3 tells us God sent Him to bless us by turning each of us from our sins. He is the One who keeps us from falling (see v. 26).

He is the one who, according to Hebrews 1, "is the radiance of the glory of God" (v. 3). He’s the image of the face of God. He’s God made visible. He is God’s face shining upon us.

He is the One who came and brought grace and truth to us here on earth when we were estranged from God and were His enemies. He brought grace to us. He’s the Prince of peace. He’s the Lord of peace. He’s the God of all peace.

Then we read in verse 27 of Numbers 6, “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” Whose name is that? It’s the name of Jesus, the name that is above every name.

Jesus came to put God’s name on us, to mark us as belonging to God. In fact, that phrase, “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel,” gives us the picture of a mark of ownership. That concept is referred to again at two other key places in the Scripture.

The first is a prophecy in Isaiah that talks about Israel’s restoration to the land. It says that in that day people will say, “‘I am the Lord’s,’ and another will write on his hand, ‘the Lord’s’" (44:5). Israel will realize that they belong to God, that they have been kept by God and that His name is actually on them. It is speaking of a time of blessing when Israel would be restored from the captivity.

But then in the book of Revelation, we see another reference to God’s name being put upon His people. This is in the final coming together of God’s people around the throne of God. We read in Revelation 22, that there, “They will see his face, and [I love this] his name will be on their foreheads” (v. 4). That branding; a mark of ownership.

I don’t know what that will look like on our heavenly, glorified bodies. I don’t think we can begin to imagine it. But there will be a mark of ownership, a seal. These are the ones who belong to the Lord. Remember this will follow a time when many on the earth will have taken on their foreheads the mark or the number or the name of Antichrist, the Beast.

But now God says, “To those who have persevered, those who have been kept, those who’ve been blessed, those who’ve experienced My grace and My peace, I will put My name, the name that is above every name on their foreheads. I will mark them as Mine.” I mean, we’re talking indelible ink here. "Mine. Mine!" God says, “You are mine. I will put my name upon my people.”

When we come to that last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation chapter 22—the last chapter—we’re given a glimpse of that final blessed state of God’s people. The same blessing that was prayed in Numbers 6, “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you. The Lord be gracious to you. The Lord give you peace” (vv. 24–26).

This is what the apostle prayed in the New Testament, “Grace and peace be unto you,” and what Jesus said, “My peace I give to you.” We’ve experienced only a measure of that blessing this side of heaven. But we live with the promise that in the fullness of God’s time there will be the consummation, the completion, the total fulfillment of that blessing.

It is foretold in Revelation chapter 22 in a language that harkens back to this priestly blessing. In Revelation 22:3 we’re told, “And there shall be no more curse” (paraphrase). No more curse; if there’s not a curse what’s there going to be? Blessing, eternal blessing, infinite blessing, blessing forever.

“The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [in that place in heaven], and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever” (vv. 3–5).

In that promise we have hope. We have confidence. No matter what you’re living in right here and now—no matter what’s going on in your home, in your workplace, in your world, in your church, and in this world—no matter what’s going on, you have the promise of God’s blessing, His presence, His favor, His face, His attention, His name, His keeping power, His gracious dealings with us, and His peace. He is the source and the means of all—all—all ultimate blessing.

Let me pray it for you. "May the Lord bless you and may the Lord keep you. May the Lord cause His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon you, and may the Lord give you His peace."

God says when we pray that prayer He promises, “I will put my name upon my people and I will bless them.” Amen.

Song by Michael Card:

The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make His face shine upon you.
And give you peace.
And give you peace.
And give you peace forever.

The Lord be gracious to you.
The Lord turn His face toward you.
And give you peace.
And give you peace.
And give you peace forever.

The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make His face shine upon you.
And give you peace.
And give you peace.
And give you peace forever.

And give you peace.
And give you peace.
And give you peace forever.

Leslie: That’s Michael Card. He calls that song “Barocha.” It’s taken from the passage in Numbers 6 that we’ve been studying with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. She’s unpacked the phrase in this blessing today about God’s peace.

Do you know that you are being prayed for today? How do I know that? Because a special group of listeners have committed to praying for this program and its listeners. Nancy’s here to tell you more about this special group.

Nancy: We call them our Ministry Partner team. And I can't tell you how hugely valuable their prayers are to me, to our staff, and to our listeners. This team is a group of special friends who have been blessed by the ministry of Revive Our Hearts, and they have committed to doing three things. They’re easy to remember because they all begin with “I.”

First, our Ministry Partners intercede. That’s how we know that this program and you as a listener are being covered with prayer. Ministry Partners have made a commitment, and we know they’re praying.

Second, our partner team interacts. They share this message with other women who need to hear it. That's a big part of spreading the message of revival and biblical womanhood. 

Thirdly, the Ministry Partner team invests. They support Revive Our Hearts each month with a financial gift of $30 or more.

By interceding, interacting, and investing, the Ministry Partner team provides Revive Our Hearts with a vital foundation of consistent support. The response and income we receive often varies depending on the season and the topic we’re covering on the radio. It's our Ministry Partners who help us handle those ups and downs by providing stable support.

So at the start of this new year, we're asking God to raise up many, many new Ministry Partners. If you’re a regular listener to Revive Our Hearts and you believe in what God is doing through the ministry, I want to ask you to consider partnering with us at a deeper level through our Ministry Partner team.

Leslie: When you become a Ministry Partner, you’ll receive one of Nancy’s books. You’ll be able to choose from a few different titles. You’ll also receive the monthly devotional, Daily Reflections. Each day, you can enjoy a devotional from Nancy and receive a new booklet each month.

Nancy also writes to the Ministry Partners each month, letting them know what’s going on behind the scenes. These letters will help you better understand how to pray for the ministry. And occasionally, we send the Ministry Partners some surprise resources as well.

To join this important group, visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Click on “Become a Ministry Partner,” or call 1–800–569–5959. 

A few months ago at the Revive '17 conference, Nancy invited several friends to speak on Titus 2:1–5 in short teaching segments—about twenty minutes. The audience at the conference loved it. And I think you will too next week when we begin hearing those messages on living out the beauty of the gospel. Please be here again Monday for Revive Our Hearts

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is committed to helping women find freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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