“Terror and trembling will overcome my people. They will look for peace but not find it.” 7:25
Out of all the terrible things listed for Israel’s future, this one bothered me the most. Fear and anxiety are symptoms of being away from God’s presence. And being outside of God’s presence is a living hell.
Israel has pushed God away repeatedly, and eventually, he gives them over to their sin. In the process, they are stripped of their false happiness. They’re robbed of their riches, their homes are destroyed and filled with violence. Their land is taken over by their enemies.
Peace is a God-given gift, one that we are told to pursue (1 Peter 3:11, Psalm 34:14). What does it look like to pursue peace?
-Draw near to God. Spend time studying and reading the Bible, daily! Discipline yourself to pray (my designated time is often in front of the kitchen sink, washing the day’s dishes).
-Flee from evil. Even the seemingly harmless ones, like gossip, bad movies, aggressive music, etc. These things add up, grate on your nervous system and produce anxiety.
-Shut down fear. This is an exercise of self-control and guarding your heart. Don’t let yourself have a 20 minute day dream about a family member dying. Limit how much news you consume from the media. In general, don’t throw logs on anxiety fires (I make it a rule not to watch horror movies; I’m sensitive to them and they haunt me for EVER).
-Memorize peace-producing Scripture. Zephaniah 3:17, 2 Timothy 1:7 and Isaiah 26:3 are a few of my favorites.
-Repent of your sin. If you’re holding on to unrepented sin, you will not experience true peace. You’ll find yourself like the Israelites, filling the void with meaningless distractions and drifting further away from God’s peace and closer to the consequences of sin.
Reflect on this list. How are you experiencing true peace in your life? If you’re not, what do you need to change?