PEACE ON EARTH
“What were those angels proclaiming to the shepherds, and what exactly was Jesus talking about when He said that He brings “Peace” to us?”
1At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2(This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3All returned to their own towns to register for this census. 4And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was obviously pregnant by this time.
6And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.
8That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, 10but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! 11The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!”
13Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God:
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,and peace on earth to all whom God favors.
In John 14:27, Jesus says:
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
What peace does the world give you?
Security in your possessions? In a stable political environment?
In comfortable surroundings?
What sort of peace does Jesus give us?
Paul once wrote to his friends in Philippi:
How grateful I am, and how I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but for a while you didn’t have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. But even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. Phil 4:10-14
Look at Paul’s peaceful Life:
Five different times the Jews gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled many weary miles. I have faced danger from flooded rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the stormy seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be Christians but are not. I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirsty and have gone without food. Often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. 2 Corinthians 11:24-27
Peace in the Greek is:
eirene /i·ray·nay/] n f. the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is. Similar to the Hebrew word Shalom.
We find it in a very familiar story in the book of Judges: Judges 6:11-24 (NLT)
Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the oak tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash had been threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the Lordappeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!”
13 “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.”
14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”
15 “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”
16 The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”
17 Gideon replied, “If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me. 18 Don’t go away until I come back and bring my offering to you.”
The Lord answered, “I will stay here until you return.”
19 Gideon hurried home. He cooked a young goat, and with half a bushel of flour he baked some bread without yeast. Then, carrying the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, he brought them out and presented them to the angel, who was under the oak tree.
20 The angel of God said to him, “Place the meat and the unleavened bread on this rock, and pour the broth over it.” And Gideon did as he was told. 21 Then the angel of the Lordtouched the meat and bread with the staff in his hand, and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed all he had brought. And the angel of the Lord disappeared.
22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he cried out, “Sovereign Lord, I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!”
23 “It is all right,” the Lord replied. “Do not be afraid. You will not die.” 24 And Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and named it “The Lord Is Peace.” The altar remains in Ophrah in the land of the clan of Abiezer to this day.
Why did Gideon call God the “Yahweh Shalom”?
What did he know that gave him that realization?
Let’s look at the Biblical meaning of this word Shalom:
Shalom= “the harmony of relationship that comes from reconciliation of a debt, the state of things returned to what they were intended to be from the uncomfortable position of being out of harmony and place.”
A form of the word is used in modern Hebrew for the settling of a bill after a meal (“tash’lomim” is a bill).
Another form is the offering in Leviticus 3 (the “Shelmim” offering) which was given as a special thanks to God when a baby was born or some other incredible gift was given by God to you. It was an acknowledgement that a debt of gratitude was owed.
Shalom is translated “Peace” 170 times.
Shalom expresses the deepest need and desire of the human heart..
It means a sense of contentment, a freedom from guilt, and a satisfaction with life itself.
There is of course a requirement. It means that we must have a pure heart before God, and live in obedience with his Word and His Plan.
Shalom is translated in a variety of ways to help us see the fullness of the word:
1) Deut 27:6
“You shall build the altar of the Lord your God of uncut (literally “whole”) stones, and you shall offer on it burnt offerings to the Lord your God;” Deut 27:6
The term is evenim (even-eem) shelmot (shell-mote): “whole stones”.
SHALOM: “in the state of completion that was intended by God”.
God’s command was that stones were to be left in their completed state to be used in the altar, not trimmed by the hands of men.
When God appropriated the title “Shalom” to Himself, He showed Himself as the One that restores people and things to their original intention!
2) Daniel 5:26 uses the term shalom as “finished” or “put an end to” (in NAS).
“This is the interpretation of the message: ‘MENE’—God has numbered your kingdom andput an end to it. Daniel 5:26
God was about to put an end to the King Belshazzar’s kingdom in the dramatic “finger on the wall” prophecy. The term “put an end to” is the term is Shalom.
Shalom: the sense that God would “right what is wrong” and be the “Restorer of the right”.
It is like God “righting” a vessel that has overturned.
3) To Abraham in Gen 15:
“As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age. “Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.” Gen 15:15-16
There is also a timing sense to God’s “Shaloming” of things.
Gen. 15:15-16 promised Abram that he would die in peace after a long and good life. He used the word “shalom”.
Shalom: prosperity, with the focus on material abundance, implying an ease of life andcontentment, with the focus on the attitudes and emotions of a person tranquility, peace of mind, peacefulness,
In verse 16, in contrast, God used the term shalom for the Amorites. He said their sin is not “yet full” (KJV), which is again the term shalom. The play on words meant that God was not yet ready to pull the plug on them because it was too soon for their sin to equal their punishment.
Shalom: God patiently and judicially measures the time when the wicked have sufficiently “earned” destruction.
This seems harsh, but it teaches something about Jehovah Shalom.
He is uniquely qualified to right things in the perfect time, for He knows the measure of things.
I find this to be an incredible encouragement to those who are being persecuted and God seems to be allowing the evil to continue for a time.
4) A final dimension of the word shalom is found in the declarative laws of Exodus 21: 34.
“If a man opens a pit, or digs a pit and does not cover it over, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, the owner of the pit shall make restitution; he shall give money to its owner, and the dead animal shall become his. Ex 21:34
The law is concerning a man that opens a pit and another man’s ox falls in. God says the man who opened the pit must “make good” on the loss (the term shalom!)
Shalom: not only the word for restoration, it is uniquely invested in restoring the GOOD thing that was lost.
There is a redemption side to the word shalom.
Specifically, in the Gideon story – how do we apply this title of God?
God was saying that:
1) He will restore the original intent of the land (returning the blessing to Israel that had been stolen away by the enemy);
2) He alone would time the events and “pull the plug on the Midianites” according to the time of His plan;
3) He would redeem the land (buy it back) for Israel through the hands of Gideon and those obedient to Him.
Can we relate to any of Gideon’s circumstances?
Can we grab on to any of these principles and apply them to our own lives?
What things keep us from having Peace as God intends for us to have it?
1) We want to remain in control
Jerry – Michelle story
2) We have not submitted areas of our lives to Him
Paul says in Eph 1:13 “you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance”,
3) Our lives are lived in fear
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that Christians all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. 1 Peter 5:6-9
Dean Sherman, a noted Spiritual Warfare teacher with Youth With A Mission, points out that Peter addresses two potential “handles” that satan could use to pull you away from God in this passage.
First there is the big sin – Pride. Pride is not needing God in your life, not submitting all areas to him.
Pride is indeed a bright bold neon sign inviting the enemy to come into your life!
Fear is another “handle.” Are you believing God and His promises to you, or are you ignoring them and buying into lies the enemy is telling you?
Fear is disbelief. Not believing God is calling Him a liar. That’s sin, and a big handle to turn you away from God! That’s why Peter says to “give all your worries and cares to God.”
Pride and Fear are great robbers of Shalom!
4) We don’t understand when problems occur
My Mom’s sickness
5) We live in the past and future and not in the present
The past: Bitterness and Unreal Expectations
And don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil. Ephesians 4:26-27
Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless; it is like chasing the wind
It is good for people to eat well, drink a good glass of wine, and enjoy their work—whatever they do under the sun—for however long God lets them live. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—that is indeed a gift from God. People who do this rarely look with sorrow on the past, for God has given them reasons for joy. Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
“So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
6) We are not in relationship with God
The ostrich with his head in the sand is at peace, even when the charging rhinoceros is approaching!
Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad. Ecclesiastes 12:13
How do we cultivate peace in our lives?
Cultivate? Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in or lives.
But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
1) Enter into a personal relationship with God.
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to endure. 4 And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. 5 And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:1-5
2) Submit all areas of our lives to God and Trust Him to handle all the situations in our lives
My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.
Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:1-8
3) Understand your calling in life, and flow with God’s plans and purposes for your life
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Parable of the Talents Matthew 25
5 bags, 2 bags, 1 bag
And I saw a great white throne, and I saw the one who was sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to the things written in the books, according to what they had done. Rev 20:11
The Serenity Prayer
By Reihold Neibor
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time
Enjoying one moment at a time
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is not as I would have it
Trusting that You God will make all things right if I surrender to Your will
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with you forever with You in the next
Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He brings to us
Restoration, – in restoring the GOOD things that was lost.
He “rights what is wrong” and is the “Restorer of the right”.
He patiently and judicially measures the time when the wicked have sufficiently “earned” destruction.
He brings us: peace of mind, peacefulness, with the focus on the attitudes and emotions of a person tranquility,
He also brings us prosperity, with the focus on material abundance, implying an ease of life and contentment,
Peace – SHALOM: “in the state of completion that was intended by God”.
Now this is something to celebrate!