The Peace of Israel – Psalm 122:6-9

Those Who Bless Israel Will Be Blessed And Those Who Curse Israel Will Be Cursed

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
7 May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.”
8 For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your prosperity.

Pray for Peace

There is a blessing and a curse in Genesis concerning Israel.  Those who bless her will be blessed, and those who curse will be cursed.  The Israelites are The Lord God Almighty’s chosen people.  He has seen them through wars, famines, earthquakes and every imaginable disaster and tragedy, including the Holocaust.  Everyone who has welcomed her and sought (and still seeks) her prosperity has been blessed by God.  And everyone who has (and still currently) seeks her destruction is being cursed by God.

Israel is the apple in God’s eye.  She is the jewel that He desires to use to show the world His goodness and grace.  Out of her came Jesus Christ, His appointed Savior.  God seeks her peace, and after almost two thousand years of being scattered to the four winds, God kept His promise and restored her to the land that He had given to her millennia before.  The fulfillment of this prophecy greatly angers the enemies of God, who greatly desire the destruction of her people.

Because of the hatred of her enemies, and because God is good and gracious, all who love God should love her and her people, and pray day and night that she be kept safe, and that her people would find peace.  If any harbor anger at her, this is unresolved unforgiveness in their hearts, and they need to take this before the Lord to have it dealt with.

Safe and Secure

Even now, Israel and her people are under a constant barrage and attack by the descendants of Ishmael.  Sarai, Abraham’s wife, was impatient with God, and offered Hagar to Abraham to start a nation.  And Abraham had a son through Hagar.  Here is the Bible’s description of him:

11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:

“You are now pregnant
and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
for the Lord has heard of your misery.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers.”

Because of his nature, and the nature of his descendants, we should be praying for the safety and peace of Israel.  As long as the descendants of Ishmael are alive, they will forever torment, harass, harangue, bombard, murder, and try to destroy the descendants of Ishmael’s half-brother through Issac, and his descendants through Jacob, now Israel.

Make no mistake about it.  Ask any truly evil person the best way to hurt someone, and they will all tell you, without fail, that the best way to hurt someone is to hurt the ones that they love.  God’s love for his chosen people is immense.  It is only proper that the enemies of God, who cannot touch Him in His dwelling place, would make every effort, with every breath on their lips that they grudgingly receive from Him, plot to cause harm, destruction, pain, and misery to God’s children.

Indirect Impact

Besides seeking the welfare of God’s nation of Israel and her people for the sake of loving God, there is an indirect impact when this occurs.  God has PROMISED to bless those who bless her, and curse those who curse her.  This should make everyone pause and reconsider their position on Israel (either to strengthen their opinion for her, or to change their opinion from being against her).

Just about everyone seeks the blessing of God.  Although many worship anything and everything BUT the One True God, YHWH, they seek the blessing nonetheless.  Apart from Satanists, Anarchists, and Death Cults, just about everyone else is seeking blessing from the one or thing who/that they worship.

We seek the blessing of Israel because God loves them.  But it personally benefits us when we do so.  Although this may seem self-serving, for anyone who desires to be blessed by God who is in leadership of nations, they might want to seriously consider the impact that blessing Israel (in terms of friendship, financial aid, as well as military aid) might bring to their nation as opposed to ambivalence or antipathy.

Woe of Worship

The Psalmist says that the reason they are seeking the prosperity of Israel is for the house of the Lord.  For almost two millennia, since the Romans tore down the Temple of God in Jerusalem, the Israelites have not had a temple where they could worship.  In 688 C.E., the Fundamentalist Adherents to Islam (FAI) built the Dome of the Rock on the former temple Court of the Gentiles, and have greatly afflicted the Israelites ever since.

The good news is that the presence of God moved from the temple to the people when Jesus Christ, the Messiah, King of king and Lord of lords was obedient to God, was crucified, buried, and resurrected three days later.  He paved the way for the Holy Spirit to come and indwell all who would believe God, and who God then credited to them as righteousness.

God will soon reveal His Son as Messiah to the entire Israelite nation once He has gathered all who would return home again.  And when that happens, they will forget about the Solomon and Herod temples, because they will then realize that THEY are the temples (naos*) of God!

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I actively seeking the welfare of Israel?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have sovereignly chosen the Israelites as Your people.  Thank You for grafting me in to the True Vine, Jesus Christ, who feeds the native branches of Israel as well as the wild branches of the Gentiles.  Father, I pray that You would bless, protect, and prosper Your chosen people in Israel.  Grant the descendants of Jacob peace on every side.  Draw them back to the land that You gave to them millennia ago as their inheritance, and provide for their welfare mightily.  Sovereignly push her enemies back far away from her, and as David would say, “break their teeth” – destroy their strength that gives them the ability to harm her.  Father, whom You love, may I love just as much.  Help me to do anything and everything that I and my family can to seek and ensure the peace and prosperity of Israel.  And in this pursuit, bless and protect me from my enemies and her enemies, as they will surely turn their vitriol and abject hatred in my direction as well.  This I ask in the precious name of my one and only Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

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*Notes:  The Greek word naos used here is not just the temple, but a specific part of the temple – it is the Holy of Holies.  This was where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, and was the area of the temple where the presence of God dwelt.  In pre-resurrection times, only the High Priest of Israel could enter once a year to offer the sacrifice for the sins of the nation.  When Jesus died, the veil was torn, and symbolically ended the separation 0f man from God in worship and repentance of sins.

The Holy Spirit now indwells ALL believers, and because the container where the presence of God resides is the temple, our bodies are now the temple housing His Spirit.  When God reveals Jesus Christ as the Messiah to the Jews, they will no longer need to offer the ritual sacrifices for sin because they will accept that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection was the fulfillment of the temple sacrifice, His perfect, sinless blood as the final and permanent sacrifice for all of their sin, past, present, and future.

God of Peace – 2 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Allow The God Of Peace To Sanctify You Completely

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

Power in Peace

Paul reminds us that God is a God of peace.  Peace has several facets.  It indicates:

  • Unity and harmony in thought
  • The shedding of ill-will towards others
  • The working together of people towards a common goal

God is working towards all three of these, and desires to work them through us at a level that we cannot even begin to comprehend.  God sees the whole picture of reality, from when He spoke it into existence and throughout all eternity.  He is able to see what will be, and greatly desires us to yield to Him so that through sanctification, we will be completely at peace with both Him and others.

Sanctification after Salvation

Salvation has been arranged through the birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection of The Lord Jesus Christ.  But now comes the next part – sanctification – the process of being changed from a creature that was bent towards sin and darkness towards a life dedicated to holiness and submission to God.  God loves us for who we are, but loves us too much to allow to stay the way we are.

Paul, who wrote a good portion of the writings of the New Testament of the Bible, said that even he, who had been to Heaven and came back, was not there yet.  Paul truly had been shown how much he would suffer for the name of Jesus.  He tirelessly preached the word of God to the Gentiles, in cities and in prisons.  He understood the need to walk a life worthy of the calling which he had received.  We are to do the same – to live a life that is holy and dedicated to God who paid such a great price to purchase us – redeem us – out of the slavery of sin.

Be Blameless

We are called to be blameless in body, soul, and spirit.  We are all each of these three things:

  • We each have a physical body that can be used for good or for evil.  What we do impacts us and others.  Everything that we do has significance and importance.  We are called to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.
  • We each have a soul.  This is our ability to think, make decisions, and implement the decisions in the body.  Our thought life is just as important as how we conduct our bodies in action.  Jesus warned the teachers of the law and the Pharisees that they were outwardly compliant with the law, but inwardly – in their thoughts and motivations – they were dead, filthy, corrupt, and unclean.  We are to keep our thoughts clean as well, capturing every thought to Christ.
  • And whether we realize it or not, our spirit is affected by what we do in the flesh and minds.  God, through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, has made provision for the life of our spirit, alive to Him, and dead to sin.  We must now, through sanctification, put to death those things that would compromise the holiness of our spirit in Christ.

Forever Faithful

We can be assured God the Father is faithful in preparing us.  We need to be submitted to Him, and allow the trials and tribulations and hardships that will give Him the opportunity to mold and shape us from what we were into what He desires us to be.  Jesus has said that God is faithful, and no one can be snatched out of His grasp.  We can trust in the faithfulness of Almighty God to do all that He has said that He will do, for God does not lie, and is incapable of breaking His word.

As He sanctifies us, we are at greater peace with Him, moving from positional righteousness to a life of applied righteousness.  And we are also at greater peace with men as we submit to one another live lives that are focused on honoring God rather than serving our own interests.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I allowing God to sanctify me through His word to be at peace with others?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, I come to You today with thanksgiving in my heart for who You are and what You are doing in my life.  Prepare me to be the vessel that You desire for Your purposes.  Help me to be more at peace with people, and to live a life that is at peace with You.  Strengthen me in my weakness, and sanctify my body, soul, and spirit, so that they will be blameless on the great and terrible day that Your Son, Jesus Christ, returns.  Place within my heart a greater yearning that the lost would be saved, and help me to bring the message of salvation to them.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

The Peace of God – Philippians 4:6-7

What Everyone is Looking for – Inner Peace

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Anxious Anticipation

It is so easy to be overwhelmed by our circumstances: loss of a loved one; physical injury/illness incapacitates us; financial loss looms in our immediate future, etc.  The natural tendency of man is to worry and be anxious.  Jesus tells us that we have no reason to be anxious:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The Priority of Prayer

James tells us something else about our inner state of unrest:

1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

It is very important to recognize that we can ask God for ANYTHING.  But when we ask God, we should ask with the right motives.  God may very well say no to the Ferrari, the 50 room castle on the 3000 acres of land, and winning the lottery.  God is NOT a cosmic vending machine, where you put in a prayer and out pops the appropriate blessing.

Additionally, we have a tendency to ask, and, when it is given to us, to quickly forget the giver as we enjoy the gift.  We should always remember that every good giving and every perfect gift is from God, and thank God in contentment for it.

The Power of Peace

When we follow God’s prescription, we will receive His blessing – Inner Peace.  This is a peace that transcends all understanding.  When we know that we should be unsettled, God settles our hearts with His comfort – and then peace, rather then worry, controls our emotions.  It is as if we are embraced with His arms, as he wards off all attackers, safe in His care.  It is this peace that allowed Stephen to cry out to God for forgiveness of his attackers as he was being stoned to death.  It was this peace that helped the early Christians endure martyrdom when Nero had them impaled, covered with pitch, and set on fire in his gardens.  It was this peace that allowed the Apostle Peter to ask to be crucified upside-down because he said that he wasn’t worthy of being crucified in the same manner as his Savior.  It is this same peace that can calm the emotional storms in our lives when we seek God in our times of distress.

The Qualifying Question

So, let’s ask the question: Do we first go to God in prayer, or do we first worry in anxiety when our lives are turned upside down?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have shown us that You desire us to come to You when we are in need.  You know all of our needs, and when we pray, have prepared an answer in advance for us.  Your care for us is great; yet we are like sheep, and easily frightened by the least little thing.  Help me this day, Lord God, to better trust you in my circumstances, for Your very name, YHWH, describes Your character – as He who exists and is dynamically involved in my life.  Help me to remember that You are sovereign.  Grant me peace in my dire circumstances as well as the trivial ones, for nothing in my life is trivial to You.  Guard my heart, and surround me with Your presence through these things.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?