I just completed another year of God’s faithfulness in my life on October 2, 2014 and I praise Almighty God for I experienced His mercies thus far which were new every morning. As I dwell in this blessed thought, I wish to share some of the thoughts the Lord Almighty inspired me contemplating in my mind. These thoughts are already present in the God’s Word, the holy Bible, and I share with you with some fresh insights that He blessed me with as I meditated on them.
Lord Jesus in His sermon on the mount pronounced around eight Beatitudes, each of with starts with the word “Blessed” (in Latin, Beatus, which means ‘blessed’). One of these says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9). In other words, God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called children of God.
We live in a world which is full of violence. The violence is nothing new to the mankind. In one of the other posts, I have already mentioned that we read of earliest wars in humans recorded history as early as circa 3500-2200 BC between Sumer and Akkad in Mesopotamia. The Bible records a prophecy of God dealing ruthlessly with a great city called Nineveh of Assyrian Empire which was known for its violence. This came true in sixth century B.C. when Nineveh was utterly destroyed, not to be found up to around nineteenth century A.D. One of the prophets in Bible, Habakkuk in late 7th century B.C., cried out to God, in Habakkuk 1:2-4,
How long, Lord, must I call for help,
but You do not listen?
Or cry out to You, “Violence!”
but You do not save?
Why do You make me look at injustice?
Why do You tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.
If you read the lines above carefully, I can say with confidence that it might have been your cry too some or other time in your life thus far. Habakkuk was privileged to directly receive a reply from God Almighty regarding this complaint. He recorded it in his book in the Bible. We however, come back to the theme of ‘peacemakers’.
The word ‘children of God’ is a very special phrase in the Bible used for selected (but indistinguishable) privileged people. John, in his gospel writes about the children of God, like this, in John 1:9-13,
The true light [Jesus Christ] that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own [Jews], but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
John, in his letter, further writes in 1 John 3:1,
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
These references above therefore mandate us to look deeper into these phrases, the peacemakers, and the children of God, as they may be interchangeably used in certain contexts.
Bible refers to God as “Jehovah-Shalom” which literally means, “The LORD is Peace”. A distinguished title given to Lord Jesus in the Bible is “The Prince of Peace”. Before Lord Jesus was crucified, He promised His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you …” Lord Jesus often blessed His disciples with blessing phrase “Peace be upon you.” We also read of the concept of “World Peace” in the Bible when Lord Jesus will return to the Earth in what is called “Second Coming”. Some glimpses are given in the Bible, as we read from 8th century B.C. prophet Isaiah, in 11:6-9.
The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
Many of us might have started wondering if something like this can really happen! The great news is that anything that has been written in the Bible came into reality in God’s own time. Therefore, rather than dwelling on the possibility of fact, let us dwell on the ‘fact’ itself. What is God’s intention when He wants us to be peacemakers? What would constitute a man [or woman] to be called a peacemaker?
The first and foremost thing for being peacemakers is to reflect the character of God in our lives. What does this mean? This means to do what God does. What is it that God is [still] doing? He is bringing back people from violence to peace. The Bible talks about very simple demands that God requires of from the mankind. Micah, another 8th Century B.C. prophet, revealed God’s will,
He has told you, O man, what is good,
and what the Lord really wants from you:
He wants you to promote justice, to be faithful,
and to live obediently before your God.
Listen! The Lord is calling to the city!
It is wise to respect your authority, O Lord!
Listen, O nation, and those assembled in the city!
“I will not overlook, O sinful house, the dishonest gain you have hoarded away,
or the smaller-than-standard measure I hate so much.
I do not condone the use of rigged scales,
or a bag of deceptive weights.
The city’s rich men think nothing of resorting to violence;
her inhabitants lie,
their tongues speak deceptive words.
I will strike you brutally
and destroy you because of your sin.
You will eat, but not be satisfied.
Even if you have the strength to overtake some prey,
you will not be able to carry it away;
if you do happen to carry away something,
I will deliver it over to the sword.
You will plant crops, but will not harvest them;
you will squeeze oil from the olives, but you will have no oil to rub on your bodies;
you will squeeze juice from the grapes, but you will have no wine to drink.
The 11th century B.C. king David wrote in one of his praise songs [psalms] for God,
LORD, who may enter Your Holy Tent?
Who may live on Your holy mountain?
Only those who are innocent
and who do what is right.
The act of peace-making is bringing the world back to God’s order. In a rebellious generation where people are quick to resort to violence, God has a great plan for us to be His peacemakers. The final thought on His subject of peace-making is from an act of God Himself as the peacemaker. This is about a true story of a Canadian messenger of God, Don Richardson (born 1935), who worked among the tribal people ‘Sawi’ of Western New Guinea, Indonesia circa 1962. To paraphrase a historian’s words about Richardson’s work,
As he learned the [Sawi] language and lived with the people, he became more aware of the gulf that separated his [Biblical] worldview from the worldview of the Sawi: “In their eyes, Judas [Iscariot], was the hero of the Gospels, not Jesus who was someone that they laughed at.”
The Sawi’s believed, much like many in the world today, that evil is good [and desirable]. On my journey back home yesterday from office, when I stopped at a traffic signal showing red, a white colour bus driver behind me on the road who had to stop because of me, became so restless that he started yelling loudly that I cross the signal while it had many seconds left to turn into green. I, however, ignored him and waited for the signal to show green before I started. I feel sad often to learn that we live in a country where people love violence. It is so engrained in the lives of people around us that we see glimpses of the same in almost anything that observe: our festivities, our travel, our protests, hunger-strikes and dharnas, our movies and television soaps, our buses, metros and trains, our offices, the speeches of many of our political and spiritual leaders, and in our divisive outlooks of society! Sawi people probably shared the same spirit as this bus driver.
As the time passed, Richardson observed that three tribal villages were in constant battle at that time. The Richardson with his wife were considering leaving the area, so to keep them there [due to their medical help to the tribes], the Sawi people in the embattled villages came together and decided that they would make peace with their hated enemies. Ceremonies commenced that saw young children being exchanged between opposing villages. One man in particular ran toward his enemy’s camp and literally gave his son to his hated foe. As long as the child from opposing group is safe under one community’s custody, there was peace between those tribes.
Richardson used the above picture to share good news of “Peace-Child” of God. The Bible says, in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Dear friends, Jesus Christ is the picture of the “Peace-Child” of God. God in His Son has made peace with the world that we may be reconciled to Him. The choice, of course, rests with us whether we accept His offer or not.
It is my prayer to Almighty God that each person, man or woman, on this Earth may become an instrument of His peace-making. May we experience the peace that God gives – the peace that transcends human understanding!
May God’s peace rest upon you!