SHALOM - (Hebrew) safe, well, happy, prosperity, peace
EIRENE - (Greek) rest, quietness, Messiah's peace - the way that leads to salvation
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to
men on whom His favor rests.” Luke 2:10
How would you define peace? Absence of war? Overwhelming sense of security, that things are going to be ok - all is well? Or contentment with your life, who you are, and a settled-ness? Living side-by-side with your neighbor in harmony with no strife? Living in the same house with family members without drama? Or eternal security with God?
I would venture to say that peace means all of this. And so much more.
When the angels came in the dead of night over 2000 years ago, they came to an unsuspecting group of guys – the shepherds. With their rugged lifestyle and considered outcasts of Jewish culture, they were the ‘unknowns’ of society.
And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. Isaiah 9:6
Jesus is our PEACE. He is the Prince of Peace – we are told so. And we are also told there will be no end to His peace. To me this is very comforting. When the wars increase and the turmoil multiplies, I can be assured that God’s peace is real and it’s here, and it will actually increase. I wonder if the increase was what the angel Gabriel talked about – the very Prince of Peace was lying in a manger not too far from where they were settled with their sheep.
In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness
and trust is your strength. Isaiah 30:15
The words stated here speak of peace – everlasting peace. Salvation. Trust. By seeking God and Him first, He provides us with righteousness and a right standing before Him in the throne room. We are covered by the blood of Christ (the blood that He shed on the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins), and therefore we are deemed righteous by a holy God. Enter salvation. And therefore, rest and peace.
The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness
will be quietness and confidence forever. Isaiah 32:17
Matthew reminds us to seek God first and His righteousness, and ALL things will be added unto us (Matthew 6:33). What is added? All things, including peace. The fruit of this seeking is peace. The effect of God’s righteousness over us is quiet trust – peace – and it will last forever because as Isaiah stated earlier, there will be no end to Christ’s peace.
I don’t know about you, but I am thankful for this never-ending peace. In a world that screams chaos, there is peace. In a society that is quick to rage, God’s quietness. On the outside it may be dramatic, traumatic, stressful and more, but we can have a settled peace over us because we are covered in God’s righteousness and our Prince of Peace is ruling over us.
Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. Philippians 4:6-7
On Sunday at my church, the pastor shared that Philippians 4:6-7 is the most underlined passage in all of Scripture. I think it points to the fact that we desire and crave peace. We want the peace that passes all understanding – a peace that is outside of this world. Something the world has no concept nor can it conjure up. We are tired of what it dishes out; we need and want what God gives. And it is indescribable peace. However, there is a condition on these verses. More like an if-then statement. If you don’t worry you; pray instead. If you tell God what you need and if you thank Him for all He has done – then, you will experience His incalculable peace. Paul reminds us in Philippians 2:12 to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. This, I believe, is the work we are to be doing: trusting, praying, believing, thanking.
The NIV translation for Philippians 4:7 says it quite differently: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Folks, this is where it gets interesting. Remember, I have been chewing on this word peace for a couple of days and when I looked up the Greek word for guard I got some insight. It’s a military term (look back to Isaiah 9:6 and notice that the government will be on His shoulders) describing a military guard. Strong’s concordance says it this way: to be a watcher in advance, i.e. to mount guard as a sentinel (post spies at gates).
OUR GOD FIGHTS FOR US
God being our Warrior God (Exodus 15:3) fights for us, and He leaves peace in His wake. He pours it out liberally on those who pursue Him, He posts His guards at the gates of our hearts for the express purpose to be on the look out for incoming drama, and He provides peace IN ADVANCE, so if we don’t worry, and instead pray, the peace is available to us.
If the peace is already there, on the shoulders of my Prince of Peace, why do I worry and fret? Why do I stumble around first, then remember what I am to do? When will I pray first and not worry? I am getting better, but it has been a long arduous journey. The more I am quiet before God, trusting Him in my silent obedience, the more I experience His indescribable peace. The more I let God the Father and Jesus, the Prince of Peace fight my battles, the more peace that I truly crave is at my disposal falling down over me and surrounding me on all sides. The enemy cannot penetrate this wall of God’s peace.
In this season of remembering the birth of our Saviour, may we look deep into our every day to see how we trust and believe. If we notice that we have more fear than peace, may we make an adjustment. That adjustment does not need to be shouted from the roof tops, rather it needs to happen in quietness and confidence – in the depths of our hearts. Then and only then will we have the lasting peace that endures and strengthens us for the daily tasks at hand.
Jesus is our Prince of Peace – He was whom the angel was telling the shepherds about, as well as proclaiming peace on whom His favor rests. Jesus rests on those who believe. We seek, we believe - we receive His peace.
O Father God, and Prince of Peace. I worship You because You are holy. You are incredible. May I seek You wholly and come before You in quiet trust and tell You what I need. In turn, Your precious peace will wash over me. And that is good. AMEN
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world
gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27