November 10, 2020

JEHOVAH SHALOM: God Our Peace

Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | For Christ himself is our way of peace. He has made peace between us Jews and you Gentiles by making us all one family, breaking down the wall of contempt that used to separate us. Ephesians 2:14, Living Bible

In 1904 a massive, bronze statue of Christ with his arms outstretched to the harbor of Buenos Aires was erected.  Known as the “Christ the Redeemer of the Andes,” standing at an altitude of 13,000 feet, it towers over the whole area. Christ’s left hand holds a cross. His right hand is extended in blessing.  On the base of the great statue is a quotation from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians which reads, “He is our peace who has made both one.”

Have you ever wondered what’s the story behind this magnificent work of art?  In 1899 Argentina and Chile were on the path leading to war. Though there had never been an armed confrontation between these two countries, it was certain that one was brewing. Armies had been massed on the border between the two countries. By Easter of 1900, it was only a matter of days or hours until the first shots were fired.

That’s when Monsignor Bonaventura in Buenos Aires preached a passionate Easter message calling for peace. On the other side of the border the echo was picked up and others called for peace as well. Gradually pleas for sanity won out and King Edward VII of Britain was asked to arbitrate the dispute.  Eventually the treaty was signed, and the canons that had been pointed at each other were melted down, and the bronze was poured into the mold for the “Christ of the Andes.”

Forgive me for thinking this, but I can’t help suggesting that the only possible solution to the strife between Israel and her Arab neighbors is for the Prince of Peace, the one of whom Isaiah spoke of long ago, to reach out His hand to each and bring a treaty of peace.

The same thing is true of troubled marriages and conflicts between people.  In four decades of working with people, I have discovered that if two people will come together and ask God to arbitrate their conflict in prayer, He does what could never happen otherwise.

One of the beautiful expressions of God’s desire for peace is found in the words of one of Israel’s judges.  His name was Gideon. He feared that he would be killed at the hands of His enemies, but God sent an angel with the good news, “You are not going to die.”  There Gideon built an altar and called it Jehovah Shalom, which means “God is our peace.”  Five times in the New Testament alone, this mighty God is called “The God of all peace.”

“Peace,” wrote A.B. Simpson, “is the most precious of all the gifts and graces of the Spirit; so precious indeed is peace that it was the one legacy left us by our departing Lord.  Joy,” he said, “may be more exciting, but peace is more sustaining.”  How true.  No wonder Paul described God’s peace as “a peace which passes all understanding.”

A closing thought: The only legacy which Jesus left to the rag-tag band of men He chose to walk with Him was that of peace. In the Upper Room, only hours before He was seized in the Garden, He said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

And that, friend, is your inheritance as well, provided you make the God of all Peace your Lord, the one whom you ask to arbitrate your disputes and resolve your anger and pain.

“Grant to me above all things that can be desired,” prayed Thomas á Kempis, “to rest in Thee, and in Thee to have my heart at peace.”  Yes, Lord, that’s the prayer of my heart at well.  Life’s much too short to live with conflict and anger when God can bring peace.

Resource reading: Judges 6:1-40