Summary: That’s where you’ll find your peace – when you know Him and believe Him, when you know that despite desperate or discouraging circumstances, the end of the story is coming and it’s perfect.
It was a low point for Abraham, perhaps the lowest. The ‘father of faith’ was despairing. You see, he had heard the voice of the Lord while living in Ur –a place where the moon god (now known as Allah) was worshipped. But, the true and living God had spoken to him, telling him to ‘forsake all’, to leave his home and family and to travel to an unknown place.
Well, Abraham, then called Abram, obeyed; at least he left. He took some family along though and at first, they journeyed as far as Haran, about 600 miles to the northwest along the ‘fertile crescent’. Some years later, after his father died, the Lord once again called him to travel onward to the land that he would inherit. And again, he pulled up stakes along with his wife, nephew and their entourage, caravanning to the modern day land of Israel.
Now, you’re all familiar with the life of Abraham – you recall his journey into Egypt, his accumulation of great wealth, his longing for an heir, his courage, his fears, his deceptions, his integrity and ultimately, his love for God. But do you know that he came to a crisis of faith? - a point of real despair? He lost his peace and was wavering.
God had appeared and/or spoken to him personally several times (Gen 12:2,3,7; 13:14-17). With great valor, he’d rescued Lot from an army of four kings with just his 318 servants (Gen 14). After this, He had been blessed by Melchizedek, who was a type or manifestation of Christ. Talk about spiritual ‘highs’!
But then the ‘bottom fell out.’ This man of faith was not yet a man of abiding inward peace. And the two are inextricably linked.
Abram feared greatly. We know this because right after these things, God spoke to him in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield…”
Abram despaired and complained. The Lord said, “…[I am] your exceeding great reward.” To which Abram replied, “…Lord, GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless…” In other words, ‘I don’t get it, Lord. I’ve followed and served you, and what good has it done me? No family, no kids, I’m a hunted man…probably…here I am alone in this place and I’ve just made some long term enemies…I don’t get it. What good would it do to receive anything from You? I don’t have anyone to pass it on to anyway.”
“Look, You’ve given me no offspring…” he said.
And, save Christ, this is the condition of every heart among those on earth who truly follow the Lord, at some time or times. That’s because the Lord, Who knows all and ultimately guides those who seek to follow Him, also allows some incredibly difficult things to transpire in their lives.
At this point, the Lord, unperturbed by Abram’s perturbations, gave him what we now call the Abrahamic covenant. First, He declared that He would make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the heavens and then, that He would give to him, and his descendants the entire land around him.
After unilaterally guaranteeing this by ‘cutting covenant’ with Abram, God declared that he would go to his fathers “in peace.” And this is my principle point – His peace became his peace.
This word, “peace” is not understood well at all. That’s because it is not of this world. And yet, it is what our hearts cry out for every moment of our earthly existence. In the Hebrew, it literally means, ‘to be safe’ and directly implies ‘to be sound or well’, ‘to be content or happy’ and my favorite, ‘to be complete.’ In the Greek, it means, ‘to be joined or at one.’
Now, these last days in which we live are so evil, some would say treacherous, that you can just ‘smell the flame,’ you can almost sense ‘the heat,’ so to speak. Paul the apostle wrote, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…” (2Tim3:1-5a) and this is speaking of those who wear a ‘mask’ of godliness if you would. How much worse the unabashed unbelieving world!
Evil times indeed.
But the Bible positions God’s peace as being opposite of evil – “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].” (Isa 45:7) and, “And the work of righteousness shall be peace…” (Isa 32:17a) and that is why He says, “[There is] no peace, says the LORD, unto the wicked. (Isa 48:22). In this day, real peace is increasingly rare.