Summary: Peace movements are nothing new. There have always been those who cry "peace!" Many do so today. There are demonstrations and protests for peace. And it seems to me that any person who has a respect for life should want peace. Yet we do not have peace. Why?
The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace. (Psalm 29:11)
All you have to do is turn on your T.V. any night of the week and you will see that we are living in a world full of turmoil. Most of what is in the news is bad news. Our lives are characterized by an lack of peace and a presence of turmoil.
Wars, the struggle, the strife and confrontation going on in our world is simply an outward manifestation of the inner turmoil going on within the souls of men and women. From the lack of peace within nations to the lack of peace between two people, it all reflects a lack of peace from within people.
The Perversion of Peace
Peace movements are nothing new. There have always been those who cry "peace!" Many do so today. There are demonstrations and protests for peace. And it seems to me that any person who has a respect for life should want peace. Yet we do not have peace. Why?
Perhaps the answer lies in the nature of the peace we are pursuing. It is apparent that there are many in this world frantically involved in a quest for peace, but is the peace that is being sought really true peace?
Jesus gives us an interesting insight into true peace in John 14:27, where He says, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you."
Jesus clearly distinguishes the kind of peace He is giving with the kind of peace that the world offers. Could it be that He is saying that the peace that some people pass off for true peace what is not really peace at all?
In Ezekiel 13:10 the prophet of God says that some "have misled my people by saying, 'peace!' when there is no peace." When we speak of peace we need to have a clear understanding of what true peace really is. If we do not understand the true definition of peace, we may be misled into believing there is peace when there is none.
One of the definitions the world uses for peace is that peace is the absence of conflict. But, as Christians we must be concerned with more than simply the lack of conflict. Peace is not merely an absence of conflict.
When the outward conflict dies down then the inner conflict begins to come to the surface. The real need for humankind is more than an absence of physical conflict in the world around us, it is for true inner peace, a peace with God.
The Provision of Peace
We need a provision of peace. And we have one! The provision of peace is God, who is the source of true peace. True peace can only come from God. In Isaiah 26:3 we read, "The steadfast of mind thou wilt keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in Thee."
The real key to peace is trusting in God, because He is the source of peace. As we trust in Him, we experience what you might call peace from God. Our trust places us in the position where the basis for peace is shifted from ourselves and our circumstances to the faithfulness of the God of the universe.
Our circumstances change, our relationships with others change. If our peace depends on our circumstances then we will not have peace. But if our peace depends on the unchangeable God, then things can be coming apart all around us, we can have conflict on every side, nonetheless, we will have an inner peace. This is not the worldly kind of peace defined as an absence of conflict, but an inner peace in the midst of conflict because we trust in God. It is a peace which comes from Him.
Psalm 4:8 was written by a man who knew what it was to experience conflict. For most of David's life he experienced conflict and hostility towards himself. He was pursued and hounded by King Saul and his enemies were numerous. Yet he writes in Psalm 4:8, "In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for Thou alone, O Lord, dost make me to dwell in safety." Again, David writes in Psalm 29:11, "The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace."
David understood that it is the Lord who gives strength. He recognized his inability and God's all-sufficiency. David knew something that the people all around him did not know. He knew that God could, and would take care of him. I'm not sure when and where he learned this. Perhaps he learned it when he fought the bear. Maybe he learned it when he fought the lion while out in the field tending his father's sheep. Maybe he learned it when he had hand to hand conflict with the giant Goliath. Maybe he learned it as he was pursued all over the country by Saul. Nonetheless, he had learned that the Lord was his peace. David had experienced the peace which comes from God.