Summary: A Study of the names of God - Jehovah Shalom – The Lord is Peace.
Getting to Know God – Jehovah Shalom – The Lord is Peace
I want to take a survey this evening. I have several pictures here. I want to find out which of these you most relate to when I mention the word peace - P-E-A-C-E. I’ve got a picture of
• a guy asleep on a couch
• a soldier waving the white flag of surrender
• a rippling brook through a cool valley
• a couple of hippies
• a stack of money
• a couple of friends
• or a slice of cake?
Tonight, I want us to look at another name of God – The Lord of Peace. So lets just pause and pray before we launch into it
Meaning of the Word
Peace is an interesting thing isn’t it – We all want it, yet it is means something different to each of us. Therefore it is fairly difficult to define.
In the Bible, the word also has many meanings – in fact, there are several words which are translated Peace, but the main one and the one we are going to focus on today is the word that comes from the Hebrew word shalom. I’m sure you have heard this word before – it is probably the most commonly used word in the Hebrew language today. People of Israel still use it as a greeting and a farewell. They will ask mah shlomka “what is your peace” or in our language “how are you doing”. They may also ask about the peace (or well-being) of your family.
Well this word shalom comes from a Hebrew root shalam which means to be safe and had connotations of mental safety, physical safety and healthy. The Word Shalom in its different usages in the Bible could then refer to
1. the state of an individual person. In this context it means to be complete, whole or sound – by implications this means to be healthy, well or happy. When Joseph encountered his brothers in Egypt after all those years, he asked how their welfare - literally was their peace (Gen 43:27) “And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well … And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health.”
2. the state of a relationship between 2 parties. And this is the interesting meaning. It could refer to peace in a relationship between 2 men - friendship if you like (1 Sam 20:24 - Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship”). It could be peace between 2 nations (1 Sam 7:14) which essentially meant that there were no wars – so when Israel was at peace with their neighbours, they had a good relationship. Or thirdly it could be peace between God and man (Rom 5:1). So in this context of a relationshi9p, if someone had peace with another person, it meant they had a good relationship. The absence of peace, was an absence of a healthy reationship.
It is interesting that Peace is one of God’s fundamental characteristics. He is the “God of Peace” – the Name we are studying tonight. Considering our first meaning then, He is a healthy and whole being, complete and perfect in Himself. And in the context of our second meaning, he is the source of good relationships. He can literally heal relationships as we will see shortly.