It is perhaps ironic that “shalom” has often eluded the Jewish people. Since the time of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Israel has often had to wander through deserts and continents, with an almost constant threat of trouble, death and even annihilation looming over our heads. This happened in the ancient days of the Bible as we came out of Egypt, settled in the land of Israel and then were scattered by the Lord for our disobedience. It has also been happening for the past 2000 years across the world, and even after God gathered his people to the land in 1948, the hatred of the people of Israel continues.
For all these thousands of years, and perhaps most of all over the past 70 years, Israel has longed for peace. Peace is sung about in schools, dreamed about by leaders and even carefully planned out by politicians. But peace is like Israel’s unicorn; the single-horned mythological creature that cannot be captured.
Modern day Israel has sought to live peacefully and dwell in safety in her land since the declaration of the state, but despite all attempts, peace has never been achieved and always seems to be out of reach.
For Israel, peace with God has always been tightly connected with living in peace in the land. When the children of Israel disobeyed the Lord and His commandments they would be attacked by their enemies, killed by the sword and even uprooted from the land. However when the children of Israel did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord they had peace, safety and prosperity.
Isaiah 9:6-7 says: “Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this”.
Similarly, in Hebrews 7:1-3, Yeshua is named the ‘King of Salem’, along with the ‘King of Righteousness’, as ‘Salem’ is the same word as ‘shalom’, if you recognize it (for those who know some Hebrew).
‘Peace’ in Hebrew is ‘shalom’, which many of you will recognize as the greeting that people use here in Israel, much like ‘hello’ or ‘greetings’ in English. It is similar in Arabic: “salaam”.
‘Shalom’ comes from the root word SH.L.M (Shin, Lamed, Mem) and in its primitive form means wholeness. These two words are closely related, hence Messiah Yeshua is the Prince of Peace / Wholeness and where He is not present or welcome there can be no real true peace, and there is a void.
When Israel rejected her Messiah, she rejected her real peace and the only One who can make her whole. Up until this very day we are suffering the consequences of that rejection, the lack of peace, both the peace of the nation and the internal peace of each individual. Every person longs for peace. Not only a peace with our surroundings but an internal peace that connects with our souls and our spirits, a wholeness through which we feel complete, worthy, loved and accepted.In Jeremiah 14:13-14 we read:
“Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’” And the LORD said to me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart”.
Peace, peace and there is no peace, as is written a few chapters before, in Jeremiah 6:13. The Lord showed me how this is the same today – not only in Israel but all over the world with every man and woman on the planet – and it is connected with what Yeshua says in Matthew 24:3-5:
“And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many”.
Those words ‘Here is the Messiah! There is the Messiah’ is in a way the same as saying ‘Here is true peace and wholeness, there is true peace and wholeness’. All around us people are being told to look to religion, money, success, titles, love, music and many other things for true inner peace and wholeness, but it is false. ‘Peace, peace, but there is no peace’, and so people go from one addiction to another, from one religion to another but are never satisfied.
In James 4:1-4 we are told that friendship (peace) with the world is enmity with God. There is no middle ground. We cannot serve two masters or have good relations with both the world and that of it, and with the living God, there is no sitting on the fence. We must choose this day who we shall serve and with who we shall be at peace.
Moreover, we are called to be peace-makers, which means that we are to be those who seek to bring peace between the people who are around us and God, through Yeshua, by whom they shall find the genuine inner peace and wholeness that they, like every other human being, longs for. As peace-makers we are also called to pray that true peace will come to the house of Israel, that they may dwell in safety once again through the intimate knowledge of Yeshua the Messiah. Those who pursue this calling shall be called sons of God (Matt 5:9), just as Yeshua is the Son of God and the top peace-maker Himself – the Prince of Peace.