How much blood has been shed over the years in the name of “peace”? People seek peace at any price, yet peace, the genuine article, is freely given by God to anyone who wants to receive it. The problem is, many people do not know about God’s offer, or if they have heard of it, they have not heard the truth about it and have a flawed conception of God’s peace. Are you a person who would give anything just to have peace? Do you have peace at work, at home, at church? Today’s lesson reveals the secret to having peace wherever you are.
I. God is ready to offer physical peace to those who will receive it
The nation of Israel and its history is a living example of why people lack physical peace and where they need to go and what they need to do to experience physical peace. If we will pay attention to their history then we can learn a lot from their example. In the book of Judges, after the people of Israel came out of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land, they entered into a dark period in their history. They had no official leader (like Moses was or Joshua) so there is a phrase that is often repeated in Judges, a period of over 350 years. “There was no king in Israel and each man did what was right in his own eyes.”. When there is no standard (right and wrong), when everything is “relative” then the morality of the people falls into chaos. Each man does what he feels is right and the entire society suffers because of it. Look at the world today, post-modernism is the buzz word and “truth” is relative. Nothing is absolute (according to modern philosophy). Modern society is falling apart and people have no peace. If we will learn from Israel’s mistake then history will not repeat itself. Here is what happened to Israel.
And the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of Jehovah. And Jehovah delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian was strong against Israel. Before the faces of Midian, the sons of Israel made themselves dens in the mountains, and caves and strongholds. And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the sons of the east, even they came up against them. And they camped against them and destroyed the increase of the earth, until you come to Gaza. And they left no food for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as locusts for multitude, both they and their camels were without number. And they entered into the land to destroy it. And Israel was made very poor because of the Midianites. And the sons of Israel cried to Jehovah. (Jdg 6:1-6)
When the people did what was evil in the sight of the Lord (there is such a thing as absolute truth, relativism is a scam conjured up by Satan, himself, see Gen 3) then they paid the price. There was no physical peace in the land. Obedience to God and physical peace go hand in hand. When the people of Israel came to their senses, they cried out to God for physical peace and He delivered.
And when Gideon saw that He was the Angel of Jehovah, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God! Because I have seen the Angel of Jehovah face to face. And Jehovah said to him, Peace to you. Do not fear. You shall not die. Then Gideon built an altar there to Jehovah, and called it Jehovah-shalom. It is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites to this day. (Jdg 6:22-24)
So the key to experiencing physical peace is turn to God, allowing Him to give it to you and then walking in obedience to Him. Physical peace is important, but, it is not the most important form of peace. The most important form of peace is spiritual peace. Many people live in a peaceful nation yet they do not have inner peace. They try all kinds of techniques to experience inner peace, pagan practices such as hypnotism and yoga, yet they cannot put their finger on what is missing. Knowing God is the key to knowing peace. Someone has said, “no God, no peace; know God, know peace”. It is a good play on words but yet at the same time, it is very true.
II. All people need to experience spiritual peace because of the fact that we are sinners and judgment awaits us
If we do not accept God’s forgiveness and peace, then judgment awaits us and that robs us of any chance of experiencing true inner peace. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews tells us the following (this is something we know even if we have never read the Bible, because we all fear death).
And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment, (Heb 9:27)
We are all going to experience death and judgment awaits us. Because of this, we fear death because we know we will not measure up to God’s standard of judgment. This is the bad news. The good news (Gospel) is that we can have God’s judgment removed from over our heads. Jesus went to the cross in our place, to pay the price for our sins and take on our judgment. Look at what the prophet Jeremiah says.
But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was on Him; and with His stripes we ourselves are healed. (Isa 53:5)
Because He volunteered to take our place, we may now have spiritual peace because we will not be judged for our sins. After your sins have been paid for, you must remember that you will still stand before Christ and give an account for what you did with the rest of your life after you accepted His gift of salvation and peace. Obedience to God helps maintain your spiritual peace. Living in disobedience will cause you to lose your peace (not your salvation) because your conscious will remind you that you will stand before Christ one day and give an account of what you did with His gift of salvation and peace.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive the things done through the body, according to that which he has done, whether good or bad. (2Co 5:10)
So, which category are you in? Do you fear death and have no peace because you know that you will be judged for your sins? Have you exchanged judgment for peace? How are you living in the light of the gift that Christ has given you? Are you obedient to Him or do you think that you can live as you please, not realizing that you will give an account for your actions?