Peace The Cost and Reward

Peace. We say we want peace. We seek tranquility, contentment, unity.

But what if our idea of peace is incomplete?

And it will be said, “Build up, build up, prepare the way,
Remove every obstacle out of the way of My people.”
“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners,
Creating the praise of the lips.
Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near,” Says the Lord, “and I will heal him.” (Isaiah 57:14, 18-19)

When studying a Biblical view of peace, Isaiah 57 does not usually top our list. However, the Hebrew word shalowm, translated as peace, not only opens and closes this chapter, but also settles down to rest right in the middle. Taking a look at this original Hebrew word we find the idea of completeness.

 

Completeness

Kind of wraps it all up, right? We see it beginning, middle and end. Coming full circle. This passage points us to completeness in 3 ways.

 

Completeness in relationship
God seeks a relationship with us, and He alone makes this possible. In this passage God calls us HIS people, whom HE will heal, HE will lead, HE will restore (Isaiah 57:18). God makes the way, not us. We decide to repent, to turn back to following Him, but it is He who makes the way back possible.
Cost: Submission of our selfish, controlling, sinful nature to God’s good will. Giving up our desire to control our own lives.
Reward: Relationship with the Creator of all things resulting in abundant joy! Trusting God has better plans for us when we give Him control.
Completeness in healing and restoration
We will not have peace without healing. If we need healing, we must be wounded. God allows our wounding, sometimes causes our wounding, or our good end. He will always bring good to His people. (Rom 8:28) In Isaiah 57 we find God speaking peace and healing over His people (Isaiah 57:18-19). His peace. His healing. On His people who have disobeyed Him, turned from Him and have now been disciplined by Him. Until we experience a lack of peace, discord and disharmony, we will not seek peace. We certainly experience a lack of peace in our world. We live in a world ruled by sin. That is why we are in constant tension longing for peace. But to experience God’s peace we have to turn to Him. We have to turn back to Him, acknowledge and submit to His authority.
Cost: Wounding – we must be wounded to be healed, otherwise there is no reason for healing – nothing to be healed from.
Reward: Restoration. Many times we think of healing as returning to our previous condition, but God’s healing leaves us infinitely better than our previous condition. We are better off from the experience. We growing in ways we could never understand if not for God’s wounding and healing process.
Completeness with Praise

Coming full circle, our relationship with our Creator restored, we return praising Him. Do you see it? As God boldly celebrates our return with the reward of His peace, He is doing so with His praises on our lips! (Isaiah 57:19) His praise accompanies peace. Not only is God speaking His peace over His people, both near and far, gathering them to Himself, we are returning while singing His praises! How cool is that! God is wishing completeness upon His people. Yes, shalowm implies tranquility and contentment, but it goes beyond that. Shalowm also carries the idea of making amends, restoration, reward…and completeness. God is speaking complete peace over His people, including perfect and complete restoration!

 

This season as we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, the One who made it possible for us to be completely reconciled to God our Father, I wish for you peace! I wish for you complete restoration, as He clears your way and boldly celebrates your completeness in Him!

 

Until next week,

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