The cry for peace in our world is a constant. Every news outlet, every public speaker, every family in war torn areas are making their voices heard; this is a prevailing cry for peace. However, with the constant wars, bombings, and suicide deaths at no time in history is peace more necessary, yet it is more elusive now than in the history of human existence. For there exist such levels of hate, haughty spirit, people and nations so fixed in their ways, nobody is willing to take a step back and allows peace to reign in their hearts and ultimately in the world. It will take an injection of Christ, the light of the world to bring peace. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Without the light of the gospel of peace in us, the darkness of war will prevail.
Dr King makes a very important link between peace and love. Love is the foundation to peace, without love between men and women and between nations, there will be little hope of peace. God promised to ancient Israel, “I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove wild beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country” (Lev 26: 6). Whatever hopes or dreams the world have of peace, it can only materialised when God gives it. For man with his sinful nature competitive and envious spirit, can never find peace without yielding to God.
The psalmist explained, “Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble” (Psa. 119: 165). People get so easily offended, you just have to look at them let alone touch them. We lose our cool when we imagined hate, or think someone is being distrustful and dishonourable. If we walk with God, even if we prove hurtful actions of others, we are not offended. The peace of God comes from within us, a gift that comes from God that reassures and comforts us even when war is waging on the outside. Christians, those who love the Lord, do recognise that peace exist somewhere within us all, and that there does exist a supreme being, that is creating and recreating the inner self, that spiritual us is being renewed daily, and we are at peace, despite the battles around us and soon will be eternally.
The Hebrew understands that true peace is not just the absent of war, but is one internally, and so a present reality for Christ followers. One of the first and very important Hebrew words most people learn is “Shalom” and which carries three significant meanings. First, it is use as a welcome, when meeting or greeting Shalom used to say hello. Shalom is also use when someone is saying, Goodbye or farewell, the same as when we say bye in English. Shalom also means Peace, but this kind is not the absence of war. The root of the word is very significant in Hebrew as speakers and student of the language would understand. Importantly Shalom carries additional meanings of harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquillity. In addition, it describes someone or something that is complete or perfect.
When speakers of the language say goodbye to someone in Hebrew they convey a blessing on them, “Lech Le-shalom”, or accurately “go in peace”. There are many ways to speak about God and one of them is, “the One who makes peace in the heavens”. Alternatively, as Hebrews speakers say in their prayers, “oseh shalom bi-meromav”, they are saying, He who makes peace in high places. That inner peace, the indwelling of the Spirit of God, and convey to the world through prayers and behavioural attitude, will inspire outer strength to cope with life’s wars. Moses and the patriarchs of Israel had come to know God as je-ho’-va sha’-lom (Yahweh shalom, “Yahweh is peace”), the God of all peace or “I am thy peace”. They understood easily, the strongest desire of our heart is to be at peace with our creator and with ourselves.
The proof that Israel and the patriarchs heart was at peace was that they were filled with praise to God. The Israelites had more troubles on every side, wars frequently in order to maintain their existence. Though it was God who delivered them from their enemies, the praise was not necessarily for what God had done for them, but for who God was and is. The psalmist says, “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace” (Psalm 29: 11). Moses, David and the Israelite’s were living out the main purpose of humankind, which is to glorify God and delight in him forever. That is where true peace abounds. Peace for Christians is a present experience, we life in peace despite the turmoil that exist around us. The world without God and Christ do not have this peace, but we are the city set on the hill and cannot be hid. Therefore, today, take a lesson from the Hebrews and bring a blessing of peace into your environment, with a blessing for the home, church, friends, schools, and offices and in the transportation system.