This verse has been a signature verse for me for a long time.
Because I had not learned to rest in the finality of the Cross, to receive the Finished Work of Christ Jesus because of cult-like teaching mixed in with the Gospel of God's grace, I used to misinterpret this verse to mean:
If you want to be in peace, then you must keep your mind fixed on God, and on God alone.
In effect, I turned this blessed verse into a work, and one of the most excruciating works which I had ever endured.
When the prophet Hosea wrote "My people perish for a lack of knowledge", there was no joke about that.
If we do not grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord, if we give heed to the counsel of the ungodly, or settle for the seat of scornful, or walk with sinners and call such conduct good, we are ignoring or missing out on the greatest good, which is Christ working in and through us.
He is our life, and he is all things for us:
"Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." (Colossians 1: 15-17)
This same God who made the world, now lives in everyone of us who believe on His name:
"27To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily." (Colossians 1: 27-29)
Christ Jesus is our life, and He is working within us even now! Exciting stuff.
This part I was never clear on, though.
The reason? Because I did not believe that the work was done. I was raised in a cult-like program which insisted that men and women must continue to review their sins and short-comings every day in order to break free or at least to maintain some quality of life.
Either we have been made righteous by tfiath, r we are not righteousness. Either JEsus did for all my sins, or He did not. Either we are dead in Adam or alive in Christ. There is no middle ground, there is no other way.
So, when I read the verse from Isaiah in the light of the Cross, I find that I can rest in His Work because He took care of everything for me when He died on the Cross.
The word "stayed" is "samak", first used by Isaac when he declares that his blessing of Jacob cannot be reversed, and the God of Heaven will supply all his needs:
"And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained (samak) him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son?" (Genesis 27: 37)
The next few references with "samak" include the priest laying their hands on the head of sacrificial animals:
"And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock." (Exodus 29: 10)
"And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him." (Leviticus 1: 4)
"And the Levites shall lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks: and thou shalt offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, unto the LORD, to make an atonement for the Levites." (Numbers 8: 12)
While our English understanding of "stay" suggests an active element, through the Bible the original Hebrew gives the impression of rest. Moreover, because the word is used in the context of animal sacrifices, which covered the sins of the Israelites for periods of time during the Old Covenant, we need to see "stay" not as merely a lack of activity, but resting in our conscience, that we have received His righteousness because of the final sacrifice of the Lamb of God, who does not merely cover, but takes away the sins of the world (John 1: 29)
We have a perfect sacrifice who has perfected us forever (Hebrews 10: 14), whose blood cleanses us even now and forever from all unrighteousness (1 John 1: 7).
We can trust Him because He has cut a new covenant for us, through the eternal blood of His Son:
"10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
"11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
"12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8: 10-12)
While I was stressed out thinking that I had to think about God all the time, the truth is that there is no one better on whom to rest my mind than Christ Jesus, because through Him I know that I will receive all things (Romans 8:32), and that through Him I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8: 37).
Furthermore, because He has accomplished all things through His death on the Cross, Jesus is our peace (Ephesians 2: 14), and He keeps us in perfect peace, or Shalom Shalom, superlative peace, and this is not just a cessation of war, but consummate wholeness is all things that we need for life and godliness.
Peace speaks of financial and physical well-being, not just a status of right standing before God for all our sin and our sins.
This perfect peace He leaves us through His Holy Spirit:
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:" (Romans 5: 1)
"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." (Romans 14: 17)
"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatians 2: 16)
For me, as for many Christians, our understanding of all that God is and has for us is just too small, and our knowledge of the Lord is so frustrated because we do not meditate and draw from all that He did for us at the Cross.
The more that we rest, or that we stay on Him, we find that we can trust Him for all things in this life, and can face Him with greater assurance in the next!