June 03, 2012

Peace = Shalom

Numbers 6:22-27

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
—Isaiah 26:3


During a trip to Israel, my wife and I got to practice many times saying the one Hebrew word we knew: Shalom! Even today Jewish people use it to say “hello” and “goodbye.” It’s a beautiful word, because it conveys much more than a simple greeting. The word shalom in the Old Testament is often translated “peace,” as in the blessing that Aaron was commanded to speak over the people of Israel.

This peace involves much more than our modern idea of simply the absence of fighting. This peace presents a positive picture: a life filled with total well-being. Shalom means everything is working the right way, God’s way, resulting in rest for one’s soul, confidence in one’s mind, joy in one’s heart, harmony in one’s relationships, and prosperity for one’s walk in life. When you say “Shalom” to someone, you are saying: “May you have this kind of peace.” Doesn’t that sound more substantial than “Hi” and “See you later”?

This kind of peace does not arise from our war-torn, conflict-ridden world. Isaiah reminds us that real peace comes from a deep, enduring knowledge of God and a complete trust in him. It is only in a love relationship with God that we can live with the blessing of having “his face shine” on us.

God of all grace, in the midst of fights and feuds, we yearn for your shalom, your peace through your Son, Jesus. Let us see and feel your smile on us today, especially when things go wrong. Amen.

About the author — David Zandstra

David Zandstra is a retired pastor living in Marietta, Georgia, having served five churches from New Jersey to California. Along with other ministries, he counsels clients of a pregnancy resource center. He acknowledges his indebtedness to the training and resources of Peacemaker Ministries. David and his wife, Margie, have three children and six grandchildren.

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