Summary: In the first of this 3 part series we look at the beginning of the search for Shalom (peace, wholeness). When we begin the message of God in the beginning we find that we are created for Shalom.
The Journey to Shalom
Pt 1 - In the Image of God
Shalom - Peace! Wholeness! Completeness! Soundness! - all are the meaning of this Hebrew word! Shalom -there is perhaps no greater longing in the human heart and perhaps nothing less found in today’s world. The New Testament companion to this word is the Greek word "Eirene" it has the same meaning. Together these words are used 332 times in our sacred scriptures. In fact I have come to find that they form the core of scriptural teaching about Christ the Messiah of God.
The great prophet Isaiah tells us of the coming of Messiah when he proclaims:
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace (Shalom) . There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, (shalom)
Jesus says to His people:
“Peace (eirene) I leave with you; My peace (eirene) I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
The truth is that scripture is replete with verses just like these. Peace, wholeness, completeness is the core of the scriptural message of Messiah. It’s sad how seldom these words are used in today’s church. Dr. Ron Martoia has inspired and challenged me to rethink many things that I have taken for granted over the years of my ministry. Much of what I want to share with you over the next 3 weeks is inspired by the few days I spent with him at our recent Pastor’s conference and the journey through scripture, my heart, and my experience that began there.
Over the next couple of weeks I want to share with you perhaps the most important journey of your life - the journey to Shalom - the journey to peace, wholeness, and completeness that I believe can be found only in Christ.
If you look at your life in full in the big picture - I think you will find that the great journey of your life has been a journey in search of Shalom. Your greatest victories and your worst defeats - from the story of your greatest love affair with your spouse - to the moments of brokenness when you have fallen into sin, all have been a part of the hearts search for peace. Peer pressure works because our hearts long for Shalom - relationships, drugs, alcohol, education, marriage, religion, politics, even parenthood - in all the best and worst of the journey of life you can find the search for Shalom - the search for wholeness and peace.
Why is this such a powerful drive in our lives? Why does this resonate in the heart of people all over the world across every culture, race, and nation that has ever existed? Why do hearts all over the world cry out for Shalom?
We are Created for Shalom - Since the beginning of the world there has been no greater thief to peace than the idea of a Godless origin to life. Evolution as prescribed by today’s scientific world has left us with generations of people who are empty of the idea of Shalom. Shalom cannot be found. You see if all this just happened by accident then this is all there is - and if this is all there is then Shalom cannot be found. The best that evolution can give to the human heart is the brokenness that we experience day to day. Neil Postman writes “In the end, science does not provide the answers most of us require. To the question “how did it all begin?” Science answers probably by accident. To the question “how will it all end?” Science answers probably by accident. And to many people, the accidental life is not worth living” This world view leaves our hearts in total disarray - we long for hope, we long for wholeness and this worldview leaves us empty and hollow. Sterile Godless views of the world leave us cold and empty - they don’t resonate with hearts that know deep inside that there IS something more. Our hearts tell us that there is something more. Our experience with life says - this can’t possibly be an accident. One look at the wonder of the world around us, the complexity of the world and it’s systems, the miracle of life itself tells us that something is behind all of this. While the world indoctrinates a new generation with empty promises, hopeless methodologies, and empty philosophies; still Genesis 1:1 cries out to our hearts - IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH! When we hear it our hearts resonate with its message - there is something more, there is something here greater than me, there is a purpose for life, I am not a mistake, I can be whole!!!!! I can find Shalom!!!