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Governing in Peace

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At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you.”  Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to Your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to You and righteous and upright in heart.  You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.  Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David.  But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.  Your servant is here among the people You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number.  So give Your servant a discerning heart to govern Your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.  For who is able to govern this great people of Yours?”  The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.  So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked.  I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.  Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honour—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.  And if you walk in My ways and obey My statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”  Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream.  He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.  Then he gave a feast for all his court.

But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side.  His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quite during his reign.

At the height of Israel, when God gave Israel peace and quite on every side, and Solomon was a man of peace and rest as God had granted these to him, did Israel really have peace and quite?  Listen to the Israelites testimony in 1 Kings 12:4 when Solomon had died and passed the Kingdom of Israel on to his son Rehoboam, “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labour and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”

It was that Solomon’s heart turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel Who appeared to him twice, for he started to follow his own heart and enslaved the people to him by using his discerning heart, which God gave him for his own gain.  The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.  Just imagine a wise and discerning heart.  You could manipulate people, know how to deceive them into signing agreements they do not understand the consequences of, rule over them as you choose, and get them to do anything you please.

It was because Solomon had forgone the commands of the LORD his God and chose to honour himself more than the LORD his God that the people found themselves hostages to Solomon.  Is this how we are to govern the people of God?  Solomon asked for it. “Your servant is here among the people You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number.  So give Your servant a discerning heart to govern Your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.  For who is able to govern this great people of Yours?”

How does the church govern its people today?  …With a wise and discerning heart?  Has the church acquired knowledge of God and then completely ignored it; turned away from the commands of God; rejected the peace offering from God Who is Jesus Christ; and enslaved God’s people to do its own will to honour itself greatly?  Has the church placed a heavy yoke on its people and given them harsh labour to generate money for the needs of the church?  Jesus said, “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  What happened to the promise from God, to the Israelites during Solomon’s time, of a land flowing with milk and honey?  All they got was slavery!  What has happened to the promises of Jesus to His church, such as – “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing.  He will even do greater things than these, because I am going to the Father”“I ?  Where are the promises of abundance and prosperity in the church; of healings and miracles, of demons being driven out and all the other promises made by Jesus?  Where are they?

So, is it right to appoint overseers, deacons and bishops in the church?  Are they the God appointed governors in the church to oversee what everyone does before God, and to keep them in line under their own thumb?  Did Jesus appoint anyone to be over another?  Did Jesus lord over and govern the twelve, the seventy two or any others?  Did not Jesus serve them?  Did they not follow Jesus of their own free will and choice?  You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.  Simon Peter answered Him, “LORD, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life…”  Jesus never subjected anyone to believe and follow Him, but it was the relationship that He had with God our Father as an individual, that made Him stand out and gave Him the authority in God, and this is the reason why people followed Him.  The miracles were proof enough of this.

God said, “I will make peace your governor and righteousness your ruler.”  According to God, Peace is supposed to be our governor.  Why?  Peace with God is something that all people including those who govern need to have with God, to ensure that all things run peaceably.

How does God govern?  Elihu said, “He draws up the drops of water, which distil as rain to the streams; the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind.  Who can understand how He spreads out the clouds, how He thunders from His pavilion?  See how He scatters His lightning about Him, bathing the depths of the sea.  This is the way He governs the nations and provides food in abundance.  He fills His hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark.  His thunder announces the coming storm; even the cattle make known its approach.  At this my heart pounds and leaps from its place.  Listen!  Listen to the roar of His voice, to the rumbling that comes from His mouth.  He unleashes His lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth.  After that comes the sound of His roar; He thunders with His majestic voice.  When His voice resounds, He holds nothing back.  God’s voice thunders in marvellous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding.  He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’  So that all men He has made may know His work, He stops every man from his labour.  The animals take cover; they remain in their dens.  The tempest comes out from its chamber, the cold from the driving winds.  The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen.  He loads the clouds with moisture; He scatters His lightning through them.  At His direction they swirl around over the face of the whole earth to do whatever He commands them.  He brings the clouds to punish men, or to water His earth and show His love.”  God governs using the weather through storms, thunder, lightning and rain.  Rain causes floods which water crops and lightning starts fires that burn and scar the face of the earth.  Cyclones and tornadoes are used to bring destruction as they swirl about the face of the earth.  Who is going to stop them from happening?  Don’t what we call natural disasters or acts of God occur and man is helpless against them?  Your peace with God will determine whether (pun intended) it rains gently on you or a raging downfall falls on you, whether you receive pleasant summer days or scorching summer days.

It is by the Father’s choice that you will have peace or not, but ever since Jesus came, the Father gave all authority in heaven and on earth to Him.  Now it is by Jesus’ words and our own choice toListen to Jesus,’ whether we will have peace or not.  Remember that Jesus said, I and the Father are one.”  So, you can be sure that the Father still plays a significant part in what happens.  Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing.  He will even do greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”  So, what is one of the greater things?

We can give back to God His peace, which was sent through Jesus.  This means that we accept and put into practice the peace offered to us, and not only that, but multiply it so that all men come to peace with God.  If we can do the things that Jesus did, such as calm the storm, then we should be able to create a storm, just as the Father did according to Elihu.  As a person who governs, we are to keep the peace for God as Peacemakers.  Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”  Peacemakers enforce the peace for God, bringing all men into peace with God, according to what Jesus has said.  They use the ways of God and do not stand over or rule over men as the world does.  They deliver the terms of peace to those who are rebelling against the terms, giving them a chance to ask for forgiveness and to repent and even to ask for the righteous paths to stay at peace with God.

Therefore, for us, it is like what Gideon said to the Israelites:  The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us – you, your son and your grandson – because you have saved us out of the hand of Midian.”  But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you.  The LORD will rule over you.”  Yes, the LORD is to be the Ruler and Governor over all peoples, for He is the One who can rule with justice over all the nations.  It has always been the case where God wanted us to be sons and daughters in the image of God, and He is our Father, but man has always wanted to push Him away and have a go-between intercede for us.  It is the sons of God who will be the go-betweens, to explain the terms of the peace offering on behalf of the Father and of our older brother, Jesus.  In this way, we will govern in peace and all men will be under God and no man will raise his head above another to subjugate or enslave them.  Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken.

Peace be with you.

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