Stephanie Pavlantos: Shalom
How blessed are those who make peace! For they will be called sons of God.~Matthew 5:9 CJB
I am a middle child. I have three older sisters and two younger ones. My eldest sister, Cindy, is nine years older than me, while my youngest sister, Melanie, is nine years younger.
The term most often applied to middle children is peacemakers. That was my role as a child in our loud and sometimes chaotic family. I hated conflict and strove to keep the peace.
What is a peacemaker?
Google defines it as: “A person who brings about peace, especially by reconciling adversaries.” But, the Hebrew language doesn’t use the word peacemaker, but the phrase “those who make peace.”
In English, the word peace means, “freedom from disturbance; tranquility.”
Perhaps the best known Hebrew word for most Christians is shalom. Although people use it as a greeting, most people will say shalom means “peace.” But, if you know me, or have read my blog for any amount of time, you might predict I will tell you there is more to the meaning of the word shalom than just peace.
Shalom means more than “freedom from disturbance” or absence of strife. Strong’s Concordance, as well as the Hebrew, defines shalom as:
Completeness, soundness, welfare, peace (https://biblehub.com/hebrew/7965.html).
Completeness means, Having no deficiency; perfect. Finished; ended; concluded; as the edifice is complete (https://av1611.com/kjbp/kjv-dictionary/complete.html)
Soundness is, The ability to withstand force or stress without being distorted, dislodged, or damaged (https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/soundness).
The Prince of Peace
Isaiah 9:6 tells us Jesus is the Prince of Shalom or Peace. However, Jesus never promised us a world without disturbance or strife. Actually, quite the opposite.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.~John 12:53 ESV
But, Jesus did promise to make us complete. He promised to give us a sound mind and told us He would never leave us or forsake us.
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.~Colossians 2:9-10 NKJV
Jesus said, “O the Blessedness of those who make peace…” So, how do we carry out completeness and soundness?
How can we bring people to a place of completion while helping them withstand the battles around them? Prayer, discipleship, helping them discover their identity in Christ, and simply walking this Christian life beside them.
Again, taking in all the Beatitudes we have covered up until now, we find it begins with our heart, humility, and compassion.
In Exodus 34, God describes Himself to Moses:
YUD-HEH-VAV-HEH!!! Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [Adonai] is God, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in grace and truth; showing grace to the thousandth generation, forgiving offenses, crimes and sins~Exodus 34:6 CJB
God described Himself as merciful first. Jesus used this exact Hebrew word in the Beatitude: How blessed are those who show mercy! For they will be shown mercy.
Throughout these Beatitudes, Jesus is telling us to be like Him and the Father.
This brings us to the promise of this verse: For they will be called the sons of God. We are most like the Son of God when we are a peaceful, encouraging, and loving presence in people’s lives.
My twins were born at twenty-seven weeks, weighing two pounds and unable to breathe without a ventilator. Women from my church provided me with rides to the hospital, since the doctor had not cleared me to drive. I remember one particular day clearly. While sitting next to their isolettes, I watched Alexandria’s tiny body struggle to breathe–her lungs collapsed. She was already on a ventilator, but the neonatal staff could not keep her lungs inflated. She was so weak and gray-looking from the lack of oxygen circulating in her fragile body.
My driver, whom I met for the first time, was eight months pregnant and had three other children at home. I knew she needed to go, but I could not leave Alexandria. I told her to leave me there, but she would not go. She stayed with me until my baby girl was stable. My husband was at our restaurant and since this sister did not want me to be alone at home, she took me there. I don’t see her anymore but will always remember this woman’s kindness and the care she and the other women who took me back and forth to the hospital gave me for six weeks.
They were Jesus to me during my time of need.
Ask the Lord how you can give peace to someone this week.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the peace that passes all understanding and for giving us Your Prince of Peace who gave His life for our life and who gives peace in storms. Help me to give peace to all I meet.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Genre: Bible Study
Copyright 2021: Shalom: Stephanie Pavlantos: All Rights Reserved