Walking In Peace Amidst Turmoil :: By Bill Wilson

There was a time when pageant contestants, in their interview portion, seemed to end with the goal of “world peace.” People want to say it, but do they really want to live it?

Everywhere we look today, there is no peace. If people don’t get their way, they throw tantrums, burn buildings, shoot people, start wars, whatever, then blame it on the ones who are attacked. How many times have you been accused of something out of nowhere, and doing such a deed had never entered your mind? But the person accusing you is doing that very thing?

There is so much division in the world today that it’s very difficult to find peace. Like Jeremiah declaring, they say, “Peace, peace when there is no peace.” But there can be.

In the weekly reading of Torah, called the parashah, Chapters 4-7 of Numbers go into great detail about how the Israelite camp is to be set up, the interaction of the priests, requirements for restitution of sin, the necessities of the Nazarite, even how a woman causing her husband to be jealous was to be handled. All these things seem to be unrelated, but spelling them out has deep meaning and purpose. In the midst of these details, the priestly blessing is given in Numbers 6:23-27,

“May Adonai bless you and keep you. May Adonai make his face shine on you and show you his favor. May Adonai lift up his face toward you and give you peace.”

Some question why this blessing is given after these detailed instructions.

In his commentary on this parashah titled Naso (Take), Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says,

“The answer lies in the last word of the priestly blessing: shalom, peace… shalom does not mean simply the absence of war or strife. It means completeness, perfection, the harmonious completion of a complex system, a state in which everything is in its proper place and all is at one with the physical and ethical laws of governing the universe.”

Consider that God brought order out of chaos when he created the world, and with all the creation, it was good, and there was peace. God was showing the Israelites what was expected of them and how to have order among themselves. And in that order, there would be peace. It is no coincidence that Naso includes the priestly blessing—a prayer for peace.

In fulfilling the Isaiah 9:5 prophecy as Prince of Peace, Christ brought true shalom to all of His people, Jew and Gentile, as is written in Ephesians 2:14-18,

“For He Himself is our peace, having made both one and having broken down the barrier of the partition of hostility, by destroying in His flesh the enmity caused by the law of commandments and decrees. He did this to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace and reconciling both of them to God in one body through the cross, by which He extinguished their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”

Christ IS our shalom. Through him and by him, we can walk in that day by day, moment by moment, no matter what the world does. Shalom!

Posted in The Daily Jot