SHALOM: This great Hebrew word is often used as a cordial greeting or friendly farewell, but has a much deeper, richer meaning than simply "peace" (in the sense of cessation of hostility), as evidenced by one modern Bible version (NIV) which renders shalom 70 ways! Shalom is from the Hebrew root s-l-m which means to be complete or fulfilled, to be sound, to be preserved, to enter into a state of wholeness, unity or restored relationship. One writer described shalom "as the way things ought to be." Shalom is like Joseph's "coat of many colors" (Ge 37:3-note), masterfully interweaving thoughts of wholeness, well-being, prosperity, security, contentment, completeness, harmony, health, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, fullness, rest, absence of agitation, aggravation or discord, a state of calm free from anxiety, a quietness of one's soul! In short, shalom is the sum of all God's blessings which in turn produces a sense of well being in every aspect of life. Indeed, one writer has estimated that up to two thirds of the >200 biblical uses of shalom allude to the total fulfillment that comes when one experiences God’s presence and pleasure. Shalom means everything which makes for a man’s highest good. It has been well said that "Peace in the Jewish sense is the symphony of life made meaningful through a right relationship with God." Biblical peace is unrelated to circumstances—it is a goodness of life and satiety of one's soul that is not touched by what happens on the outside. You may be in the midst of great trials and still have supernatural shalom (Ps 4:8-note). So whatever your circumstances today, as you read and meditate on God's shalom, my prayer for you is that "The LORD lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace (shalom)" (Nu 6:26-note)
A DESCRIPTION OF SHALOM: Warren Wiersbe reminds us that “The world bases its peace on its resources, while God’s peace depends on relationships. (specifically those who are “declared righteous [right] with God by faith and who have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Ro 5:1-note) To be right with God means to enjoy the peace of God (“which surpasses all comprehension” Php 4:7-note). The world depends on personal ability, but the Christian depends on spiritual adequacy in Christ (“Who made us adequate as servants of a New Covenant, not of the law, but of the Spirit; for the law kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2Cor 3:6-note). In the world, peace is something you hope for or work for (Jn 14:27-note); but to the Christian, peace is God’s wonderful gift, received by faith (for “Jehovah will bless His people with shalom” Ps 29:11-note). Unsaved people enjoy peace when there is an absence of trouble (But there is no genuine abiding “shalom for the wicked” Isa 48:22-note); Christians enjoy peace in spite of trouble because of the presence of the power (dynamis) of the Holy Spirit (for “the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” Ro 8:6-note) People in the world walk by sight and depend on externals, but (Followers of Christ) walk by faith (2Cor 5:7-note) and depend on eternals (continually choosing to “set our mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth” fixing “our hope completely on the grace to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ” Col 3:2-note, 1Pe 1:13-note).” (Scriptures added)
A CRY FOR SHALOM: In light of J M Boice’s description of shalom as “a large, embracing word for the good that comes to the one God favors” read David’s declaration: “Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who delight in my righteousness and let them say continually, ”Great is the LORD, Who delights in the prosperity (shalom) of His servant." (Ps 35:27-note) which prompted John Piper to exhort trial weary saints to “Do what I did last Thursday. I preached my soul a sermon on Ps 35:27. I said, "Soul, be glad today! Be strong! Look, do you see the greatness of the Lord God Almighty? Do you see the power of the Maker of heaven and earth? Do you see the wisdom and the knowledge of the One who designed the universe and the molecule? "Well, hear this and be astounded, little soul: that great God delights in your welfare (shalom)! Did you hear that, little soul? I said, 'Delights'! That's D-E-L-I-G-H-T-S, DELIGHTS! Your welfare (shalom) is not His duty; it's His joy! 'Great is the Lord, Who delights in the welfare of His servant!' So hope in God and don't be downcast.'" "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” (Ps 42:11-note)
HOW TO HAVE GREAT SHALOM: "Those who love Thy law have great peace (shalom) and nothing causes them to stumble (to fail to "walk" well)." (Ps 119:165-note) Spurgeon remarks that "a true love for the great Book will bring us great peace from the great God and be a great protection to us! Indeed, those who love God's Word have great blessedness (shalom) in this life as well as that which is to come! Let us live constantly in the society of the law of the Lord, and it will breed in our hearts a restfulness (shalom) such as nothing else can. The Holy Spirit acts as a Comforter through the Word and sheds abroad those benign influences (His divine shalom) which calm the tempests of the soul. Nothing is a stumbling-block to the man who has the Word of God dwelling in him richly (Col 3:16-note). He takes up his cross daily (Lk 9:23-note), and it becomes a delight. For the fiery trial he is prepared (stabilized by shalom) and counts it not strange, so as to be utterly cast down by it (1Pe 4:12KJV-note). He is neither stumbled by prosperity, as so many are, nor crushed by adversity, as others have been: for he lives beyond the changing circumstances of external life." To wit, he lives in the divine "atmosphere" of GREAT SHALOM! Matthew Henry adds that Scripture saturated saints "are governed by a principle of love for the Word of God and make it their rule and are ruled by it. They may be in GREAT TROUBLES without and yet enjoy GREAT PEACE within. Those that love the world have great vexation, for it does not answer their expectation. Those that love God's Word have great peace, for it outdoes their expectation, and in this peace they have sure footing." The truth of Ps 119:165 begs the question: Do you love God's Word? How is this manifest in your life? Storms will come - they always do - but how are you handling them? Where do you run when they come? Do you run into the strong tower of the Name Jehovah Shalom? (Pr 18:10-note, Jdg 6:24KJV-note) Do you have that inner shalom which the Spirit produces in the hearts of those who truly love and surrender to His Word, holding fast His Word which in turn holds them fast in the storm? If GREAT SHALOM is not your experience when the tempests blow, perhaps you need to "test" God's "promise" in Ps 119:165!
A ROCK OF SHALOM: Isaiah records our Father's precious promise to all His "storm tossed" sons and daughters that He “will keep him in PERFECT PEACE (literally "shalom, shalom”, emphasizing God's provision of a surpassing sense of inner calm and tranquility in the one) whose mind is stayed (leaning, resting) on (God): because he trusts in (God). Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD God is a Rock of Ages (Hebrew for "Rock" = rocky cliff sheltering the trusting one from attack, a truth which inspired Tolady’s famous hymn "Rock of Ages")." (Isa 26:3-4-note) "Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to the cross I cling; Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless look to Thee for grace; Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Savior, or I die. While I draw this fleeting breath, When mine eyes shall close in death, When I soar to worlds unknown, See Thee on They judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee." Therefore "I will lie down in peace (shalom) and sleep, for You Alone, O LORD, will make me dwell in safety." (Ps 4:8-note) As Spurgeon said “A loving parent would be sorely grieved if his child could not trust him!” And so when (not "if") we are sorely vexed by various trials (Jas 1:2-note) which are common to all men (1Cor 10:13-note), may God’s Spirit enable us to lean “our full weight” upon the everlasting arms of our Rock and our Redeemer (Ps 19:14-note) so that we might experience His SURPASSING supernatural shalom in Christ Jesus (Php 4:7-note), the Prince of Peace (Hebrew = Sars Shalom - Isa 9:6-note). Amen.
A PRAYER TO THE GOD OF SHALOM: Now may Jehovah Shalom (Jdg 6:24-note), the God of peace be with you all (Ro 15:33-note) (and may) the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Th 5:23-note) (for as you practice) the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in (the Gospel of Peace Ep 6:15-note) the God of peace shall be with you (Php 4:9-note), (and indeed) the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (Ro 16:20-note). (May) the God of peace, Who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Heb 13:20, 21-note) (Finally) may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all! (2Th 3:16-note) Amen
May "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord" (2Pe 1:2-note) as you meditate on God's SHALOM and listen to the words of this grand old hymn by Frances Havergal...
Like a river glorious, is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth, deeper all the way.
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.
Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.
Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do.
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.