After working through James 3:18-4:10, I spent some time thinking about peace, or shalom.  Everyone wants it, but so few of us seem to have it.  But what is it?  A blogger that I occasionally read (Michael Kruse) summarized shalom here.  All too often, when we read the word “peace” in the Bible, we think of serenity or a lack of conflict. But it means much more than that, and Kruse explains it well.

Here is a summary (but I encourage you to read the post):

Absence of War

And Joshua made peace with them, guaranteeing their lives by a treaty; and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them. (Joshua 9:15, NRSV)

Harmonious relationships

Samuel did what the LORD commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 16:4-5, NRSV)

Personal welfare of people and animals

So he said to him, “Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock; and bring word back to me.” (Genesis 37:14, NRSV)


And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them; they shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it. (Jeremiah 33:9, NRSV)


These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace, do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath; for all these are things that I hate, says the LORD. (Zechariah 8:16-17, NRSV)

I would add to his list that peace is an integral part of God’s salvation plan.  True peace can only be had when we are in a right relationship with God, because all true peace originates with Him.

Peace was the original state of the garden, but lost in the fall.  However, peace can be regained through a relationship with God.  Moreover, God is eventually going to set the world back to the way it was intended with a new heaven and a new earth, and peace will be completely restored in all creation.

Looking for peace?  Find it through God, and His son Jesus Christ.

  1. August 20, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    I would have like to see him (or you for that matter) flesh out this statement:
    There can be no shalom without God honoring economic enterprise.

  2. jlemke
    August 20, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    My take (muddled, but it’s as good as I can do for the moment):

    1. God-honoring economic activity is part of the creation mandate.
    2. Because of the fall, we are unable to properly engage in the creation mandate and God-honoring economic activity.
    3. To repair our relationship with the creation mandate, we need to have peace with God (in the OT, all shalom only comes through shalom with God).
    4. When we have a repaired relationship with the creation mandate, we have a repaired relationship with economic activity.
    5. Therefore (I think), there can be no shalom without God-honoring economic activity.

    I think. Anyone else?

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