Friday, February 1, 2008

Jehovah-Shalom

Peace

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.


Strong's word H7965

Translated as:
peace 175, well 14, peaceably 9, welfare 5, salute + 07592 4, prosperity 4, did 3, safe 3, health 2, peaceable 2, misc 15

Psalms 4:8
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.


The God of peace brings to us the peace of God. . .

Even today this word 'shalom' is a common greeting between the Hebrew people. As a young man growing up in the sixties, I was a youthful supporter of the peace movement of the Vietnam war where many of us adopted the peace sign and used shalom as a greeting between us. Indeed shalom can mean freedom from war, but more significantly it also has a meaning of inner peace and well being. In reading accounts of the unspeakable evilness of committed in the death camps of Hitler's Germany for many Jews there was still a sense of God's presence and comfort. . . Jehovah-Shalom was there providing His strength. . . His presence. . . His comfort to those who abided in Him. There surely was not peace as viewed from the perspective of freedom from violence and war, but internally without regard to the happenings in our careers, our finances, our health, our families our faith in God can bring to us a comfort and serenity which is a mystery to those who do not know God.

Psalms 18:30
As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

Ephesians 6:16
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.


This shield of God, this buckler is protection for us from fear and tension. . . it protects us from all attacks of doubt. . . if. . . if . . . if we reside behind this shield. . .

Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

The peace of God. . . Jehovah-Shalom. . . The God of peace! God is the source of all our strength. If we look for strength and reassurance anywhere else we are weakened. Your bank account, your job, your health, your marriage, your house, your spouse, your children can all be taken from you. If your peace, if your happiness, if your faith rests upon them you are in a vulnerable position.

I've related it before, but a few years ago I was troubled by concerns for the future, I was anxious and fretting. . . worrying and in an instant, as soon as I stepped back behind my shield of faith, as soon as I realized that the source of my happiness is not from the world around me, but from God. As soon as this thought came into my mind, I was completely filled with peace.

I talked about an attack against my worship, against my peace that I had a few days ago, an attack about the sincerity of my worship. I was worshipping God when the thought came into my head, "Would you feel this same way if things weren't going so well for you?" One of the main reasons I knew that this was not of God, is that it was an attempt to get me to worry about something that I have no control over. There is no way for any of us to know for certain how we will react under extreme circumstances. We want to think we will do well. We are all like Peter, saying that we will never ever deny Jesus, but until we are faced with the actual circumstance we will not know the depth and strength of our faith. I can do nothing about how I might react to the events of tomorrow. Therefore for me to worry about it is pointless.

Jesus was very clear about this:

Matthew 6:34
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

This attack against me was an attempt to steal my peace. I can do nothing about tomorrow. It is not for me to worry about it, but at the same time I can practice, I can rehearse in my mind. I can visualize adverse circumstances and see myself acting the way that is good and holy and righteous and Godly. One vivid mental image that I have often used is being chin deep in a closed septic tank, with only a few inches of air to breathe. . . and praising God, worshipping Him in the most dire circumstance I can think of. I want to be able to praise God in any circumstance that I might face. In the army we couldn't duplicate the conditions of actual battle, but we still mentally prepared, we physically tested ourselves in various ways in order that when the actual circumstances arose we would not be as shocked or completely surprised. We would have a basis of how to act under fire and not completely fall apart. I believe as Christians we can prepare ourselves in a similar manner. If we try to place ourselves mentally in trying circumstances, try to imagine how we might feel, imagine ourselves overcoming physical pain, mental anguish. . . .it surely will not be the same as being actually in that situation, but I believe that it will strengthen us. If we cannot abide in our God of peace in time of peace, how will we abide in Him in time of trial and war?

Again and again in the Bible, living for God is compared to a battle, the symbolism of weapons and the tools of war abound. Victory in war is achieved though both strength and preparation. Strength without preparation is foolishness. Preparation without strength is futile. God has given us the strength. Let us not fail to prepare. . .

Thank you for my peace that you bring me Lord.
Let me always abide behind your sheild.

I love you God. . .
I love you all. . .

Dave Stokely

No comments: