WORD STUDY – STAYED ON HIM
Isaiah 26:3: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trust in you.”
The other day I had Old Ben on my disability bus. Old Ben is well into his 80’s and when he got on I had my IPOD queued to my playlist entitled: “Old People Music.” I had that old World War II hit by Harry James playing You Made Me Love You on his cornet. For you young folk who never heard of a cornet let alone Harry James, the cornet, a trumpet type instrument, was a popular instrument in the late 30’s and 40’s and the greatest, most famous player in the world of the cornet and still is considered the greatest artist on a cornet was Harry James.
Anyways, I deliberately queue up this song when I drive the old WWII veterans to the VA Hospital as it gets them in the mood to start reflecting and telling me stories, which as a writer is my goal. I knew the song had touched Old Ben’s soul as he listened and then he started to talk. He told me as a teenager he played the cornet in High School. Of course like any cornet player of that day he listened to Harry James on the radio and dreamed of being like him. One day he went for his music lesson and his teacher was not there. Instead was another man he had never seen before who said he was an old friend of his music teacher who was called away on an emergency and asked that he take his place. Well, Old Ben looked at the guy and said; “You are not my music teacher, I don’t know you nor do I know how well you can play. I will just come back when my teacher is here.” Once he got home and his mother inquired why he was home so early he said that his music teacher was not there and there was some substitute. His mother told him in no uncertain terms that if there was someone there to give him his music lesson then he had better make darn sure to take his lesson. Tail tucked behind him Old Ben returned and agreed to take his music lesson. When the teacher introduced himself he said his name was Harry James. He then played a quick version of You Made me Love You to prove it and gave him an autograph copy of the sheet music for You Made Me love You which Old Ben has to this day. You see they had no television in those days and all they had was radio and Old Ben had no idea until that day what Harry James looked like.
Perfect peace is something we all long for and we can have it so long as our minds are stayed on Him according to Isaiah 26:3. The Hebrew word for mind caught me off guard. It is the word yetser which in its very Semitic origins is the word for imagination. Recently the engine on the disability bus I drive died without warning. The town mechanic accused me of abusing the engine as the reason it went out and he called my boss and said I should be fired. I knew I did not abuse that engine, I checked the oil every day and reported every little problem but still my yetser, imagination went wild. I pictured myself fired, unable to find another job because I was an engine abuser and living on the streets with a paper cup from McDonalds asking for spare change with that other guy I always see on Western and Congress Ave who always had the extra large cup from McDonalds.
I had no peace, I mean I really need this job. I tried to pray, but could not, I tried to read Scripture but it was no use, I had no peace. I just sat in my living room staring off into space and realized I should at least be doing something. One thing I had been doing was that I opened a twitter account. I did this to share my experience during my time of silence. I really don’t understand how twitter works. I mean I see people get hundreds of likes for just writing “Praise the Lord.” I share the secrets of my heart and God’s heart as it was revealed to me during my time of Silence and I got maybe one or two likes. As far as I knew, no one read my little tweets, yet I kept doing them because it was an opportunity to just say: “I love Jesus” on a public forum even if no one is listening. As I wrote out little memes, videos and whatever other way I could think of to express my deep love for God I found I was also feeling His pleasure and entered into that perfect peace.
That is when Isaiah 26:3 came to mine and I realized that the way we gain access to this peace is by having our minds stayed on him. God will keep us in perfect peace if our imaginations are stayed on him. The word stayed is samuk which is like a mattress covering, it is an overlay. When our imaginations cover God, His peace will become our peace. His imaginations will become our imaginations. In creating my tweets I was putting my imaginations into full gear on my love for God, I was covering God with my imaginations.
I then began to clean out my dove’s cage. I held them as they gently cooed to me and suddenly my soul was filled the presence and pleasure of God. I realized this was one of God’s creations and I could see part of God’s gentle nature in them. I went outside for a walk and every tree, every blade of grass, the gentle breeze all reminded me of God. How do you keep your mind stayed on God. He is showing Himself all around you but like Old Ben you just don’t realize the Master is there to give you a lesson. I realized that this is what God was teaching me in my time of Silence in the Northwoods, that when I returned to the world, He was still there, even in the busy city, the concrete jungle, there are still reminders of God from every sparrow to the mighty energy of the Sun and the vast array of stars. It is so easy to keep your mind stayed on God, if you just stop and let God, like Harry James, introduce Himself before you run off.