About a month ago, I started meeting with a random mix of people who had been studying Hebrew, the Torah, and Jewish culture. I have always been interested in Jewish traditions and have learned about it at a very surface level. I was so grateful that a few of my friends shared with me about this group. It couldn’t have come at a better time.
This year has been a little hard. It hasn’t been my normal hard where I have crazy natural, tangible circumstances to deal with. This year has been more of a spiritual fight. I tell people that I don’t normally attribute much to the enemy, but he for sure has come for me this year. Much of the time I feel as though he is winning.
This battle has been playing out in my thought life like never before. As my birthday approaches, I am feeling a shift coming. It’s interesting because it falls right before the beginning of the Jewish new year. This gathering together with believers who are digging into the depths of the Torah and how Jesus actually lived has definitely helped to usher in this shift I’ve been sensing.
Honestly, I have been wading in a lack of peace. I have felt such unrest and discontent and a bit doubtful in several areas of my life. It’s not a super fun space to be in.
At our basic definition of the word, peace is quiet or a lack of disturbance. In Hebrew, words have such deeper meanings than we have translated them to mean. Peace is the word Shalom, but it goes far beyond our idea of peace. Peace is actually only a small part of true Shalom.
Shalom is a Hebrew word meaning completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, or the absence of agitation or discord. It comes from the root verb shalom, which means to be complete, perfect, and full.
If your life resembles mine in any sort of way . . . if you look at the lives of those around you . . . if you observe the current state of the world — this definition of Shalom sounds a whole lot more appealing, doesn’t it? In the end, we all need more than just quiet or a lack of disturbance. We need Shalom.
We need the peace that surpasses all understanding.
True Shalom only comes from God.
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)
This has been a verse that has been close to my heart but has taken on a whole other level of importance to me. Shalom is God and Shalom comes from God. We will never find rest or peace or wholeness in any other person, thing, or circumstance. It has always come from Him. He gives us peace and He sustains our peace. The world could be raging around us, but if our gaze is fixed on Him, we will not be moved.
True Shalom affects the whole of our lives.
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
I love this benediction that Paul writes to the Thessalonians. He has just delivered some hard warnings, but he reminds them that there is peace. There is peace at all times, in every way. When God gives peace and completeness and wholeness, it is never for just one area of our lives. It’s meant to impact every part of our lives. God’s desire is for us to prosper in our minds, bodies, emotions, spirit, finances, relationships, callings. Every area of our lives matters to God. He desires that we are walking out fullness in each of those areas.
God’s Word brings true Shalom.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
This verse has never been so clear to me as it has been as I’ve studied the Torah. The Law of God gets such a bad rap sometimes. There are so many misinterpretations and misunderstandings about it. Though we, as Christians, do not live under the Old Covenant of the Law, the whole of Scripture has power. All of it is alive because the Creator of the universe spoke it to the hearts of man. His Word goes forth and accomplishes what He sets out for it to accomplish. It does not return void.
When God speaks, miracles happen, mountains move, seas part, and the hearts of men are forever changed. His Word brings everlasting salvation, unending grace, deep forgiveness, unrelenting love, and a peace that cannot be shaken.
The Shalom of God is a blessing. It is freely given to His children. All we have to do is reach out and receive it.
Is there a situation in your life where you are not feeling the Shalom of God? I’d love to pray for you!