“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” – Isaiah 55:12
Chapter 55 of Isaiah is rightfully named “The Compassion of the Lord.” At this point in the book of Isaiah, God’s people have been completely disobedient, but God the Father is a God of grace and compassion, so he invites them into his lovingkindness. He is restoring them so they may glorify him once again and he is blessing his people.
Verse 12 specifically commands the people to go out in joy and be led forth in peace. Why does God ask this and how do we, as believers, do this?
Go Out in Joy
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18
As Christians, we are called to be joyful, which is not a natural thing for us to do as human beings. However, when we understand God’s love and his constant grace, joy becomes easier. When we truly understand God’s grace and seek him, we will find joy.
There are two reasons we are called to go out in joy in this passage: For our own sake and the world’s. When we choose to rejoice in our circumstances, our circumstances seem to change. Life is easier to tackle when you choose a positive and joyous perspective rooted in a trust for God and his promises.
“May the God of hope fill you all with joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” – Romans 15:13
Furthermore, going out in joy benefits others. The world should be able to recognize a Christian by how they love and by the joy they have. This is not to say that Christians should always act happy and pretend everything is okay – being joyful is different than being happy. Joy is trusting in what God is doing and recognizing that he has a plan. Being joyful means not letting your circumstances crush you. To choose joy is to choose hope.
The idea is that the world sees that our circumstances aren’t crushing us and asks us why. Then we can answer with the glorious news of how good our God is and the hope that we have. When we go out in joy, we allow our own souls to grow and shine the light of Christ simultaneously.
Be Led Forth in Peace
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
Christians, there is so much peace in truly knowing God. If you were to read the Bible cover to cover, you would walk away with quite a bit of peace and calmness in your heart. God created you (Genesis 1:27), he forgives you (Ephesians 4:32), he saved you (Ephesians 2:8), he promises to protect you (Isaiah 41:10), he has a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11), he is coming back one day (John 14:3) and he loves you so dearly (1 John 4:9-10).
When we allow Christ to lead us and guide our steps and our hearts, we find peace. There is peace in obedience and relationship with God. This does not mean that anxiety or fear ceases to exist though. The world is still corrupt and the enemy still exists, but when we cling to God and obey him, we will find his peace (Isaiah 32:17).
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7
When we truly have the peace of God, we stop needing answers for everything, we stop having to worry about everything going on in the world and we can simply trust in him and what is to come. When we seek his heart, we find peace, an inexplicable peace that will guide us through this life and all the trials we face.
Grand Canyon University is committed to following the Lord in all circumstances. If you would like to learn more about GCU’s Christian identity and mission or would like to read more devotionals please visit our website and check out the GCU Blog. Learn more about the College of Theology and its degree options by checking out our website or requesting more information with the button on this page.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.