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Peace Be With You

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Jesus said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the Earth, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”[1]

It is recorded in Luke that a great company of Heavenly host and the angel said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace to men on whom His favour rests,” when Jesus was born.

In Numbers 6:22, The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” ‘So they will put My Name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

When we consider the reasons that Jesus was sent for, we can be overwhelmed with the number of purposes the Father had in mind. From the above scriptures, we can see clearly that bringing peace to the Earth was not one of them. Yet peace was brought to those on whom God’s favour rests. In the time of the Israelites, the favour of God rested on Abraham’s descendants, and God told Moses to bless the Israelites with this scripture: “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” The idea that God will ‘make’ His face shine upon you, brings to question why should God make His face shine on you? What does this have to do with peace?

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.[2]

For the Lord to ‘make’ His face shine upon you, gives the feeling that He is forcing a situation that He does not want to do, but allows His face to shine upon you and then peace comes on you from God. It is like He cannot look at us in the condition that we are in, for the offensiveness of our sins. So He chooses to force Himself into the situation where He does ‘shine His face’ on whom He chooses. A person’s face shines when he is pleased and delighted with what he sees. Just imagine the father of the prodigal son when he saw his son coming home! It did not matter how he looked, but his father’s heart would have been lifted up, and his face is shining with a big smile.

Here we read that your sins have hidden His face from you. So the Lord will hide His face because of our sins, for the Lord to shine His face on us requires an effort on His behalf.

Continuing on from Isaiah 59:2:

For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things. No one calls for justice; no one pleads his case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments and speak lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil. They hatch the eggs of vipers and spin a spider’s web. Whoever eats their eggs will die, and when one is broken, an adder is hatched. Their cobwebs are useless for clothing; they cannot cover themselves with what they make. Their deeds are evil deeds, and acts of violence are in their hands. Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are evil thoughts; ruin and destruction mark their ways. The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks in them will know peace. So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead. We all growl like bears; we moan mournfully like doves. We look for justice, but find none; for deliverance, but it is far away. For our offences are many in Your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offences are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: rebellion and treachery against the Lord, turning our backs on our God, fomenting oppression and revolt, uttering lies our hearts have conceived. So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice.[3]

A father, who has to hide his face from his sons or daughters, must be ashamed of them. From the beginning, Adam and Eve were driven out of the garden for they had brought shame to God, even their Father and Creator, and He turned His face from them.

But praise be to God Almighty, “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son…”[4]

God sent Jesus to save us from our sins, which brought shame to our Heavenly Father. Paul wrote that Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers. And Jesus did not limit it to brothers only, but also to those who are our sisters and mothers who were around him, as Jesus acknowledged them in the crowds around Him.[5]

In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the Author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the One who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, “I will declare Your Name to My brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing Your praises.” And again, “I will put My trust in Him.” And again He says, “Here am I, and the children God has given Me.”[6]

Through Jesus, we are brought back into the family of God as sons and daughters, as children, and more importantly, to be trusted as sons and daughters.

Paul pointed out “I will put My trust in Him.” Jesus trusted the Father, and He has told us to “Trust in God; trust also in Me.”[7] But this trust towards God does not remove the shame, for we can still be sons and daughters who still can bring shame on our Father in Heaven. It is written: So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.”[8]

Is not Jesus the stone laid in Zion? For the Father’s command is “Listen to Him,”[9] and if Jesus said that we are to trust in God and also in Him, then we are to do it. The Psalmist wrote much about trusting God, but the real question is: Who does God trust? More to the point, who does the Father trust? Is it not Jesus? The ONE mentioned in the Scriptures, the one who trusts includes the Father, and God who is One will never be dismayed by Jesus. So can the Father trust us? Has not the Father wanted to trust us, His sons and daughters, who are like Jesus, the One and Only Son?

My own relationship with my earthly father has been built on a trust that has been learned from each other throughout the duration of our lives, for a family is divided if the members of the household can not trust one another. At times, I, as a son, have been a source of dismay to my earthly father, and at other times, a source of joy. So can the Heavenly Father of our family trust you? God is Love,[10] as per John’s gospel, and love is made up of faith, knowledge, wisdom and understanding. When God looks at you, He already knows all about you and understands you, and because of your sins, turns His face away from you, for your sins dismay Him. So how can the Father trust you as He trusts Jesus?

Paul wrote: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.[11]

Love always trusts, and God who is Love will always trust you, right? True only from our good Father’s point of view, but the question here from our heavenly Father’s point of view is what will God trust us to do when confronted with responsibilities or various situations? Does our Father trust us to do right or to do wrong? Does our Father trust us to make a mess of our responsibilities or successfully complete our duties? What can our Father trust us with? For our Father will know what we are going to do when confronted or when tested by the world, and He will trust us to bring more shame on Him, especially if we don’t listen to Jesus!

“Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will be a delight to your soul.”[12]

So how can the Father trust you? It is through discipline! The Father disciplines His sons and daughters to cause them to have peace in their own lives with their Heavenly Father, and to bring about peace to the Lord, the Lord, and the Lord. Thus causing His face to shine on them! Hallelujah! God causes us to have peace with Him when He makes His face shine upon us, which brings the discipline necessary for God to have peace with us. How gracious is that! And then He causes us to prosper in all aspects of life, if we would only do as He has asked us, “Listen to Jesus.” So listen to Jesus, learn His ways, His truths and His life.

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.[13]

It is when we find ourselves questioning our own trust in God, that God is most likely disciplining us. This is the peace that transcends all understanding, which Paul spoke of. We need to understand that our Father in Heaven wants to trust us more, most likely with more responsibility, as much as Jesus is trusted by the Father. Do you want our Father to trust you as much as He trusts Jesus? Then only through the Father’s discipline will we be trusted. I personally struggle with this thought that God wants to trust me, just like He trusts Jesus. The full understanding of how far our Father trusts Jesus will determine how far you will let the Father trust you, and how far you can learn to trust God. God wanted to trust the Israelite kings, but could He? Read for yourself what happened when He established and prospered King David. And what about Solomon, king David’s son, whom God gave peace to? And all the other kings who followed? Eventually, Solomon came to a place where God could not trust him. And so He removed Judah and Israel from His sight for a time.

Furthermore, the readiness that comes with the Gospel of Peace, that ‘God is Peace’, is the readiness to discipline as our Heavenly Father disciplines, in the way that He disciplines, which is to bring God’s own sons and daughters in to a position where the Father can trust His own family. Amen. So if God is Peace, and we are sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven, then we are to discipline our brothers and sisters, so to allow our Father’s face to shine over all His children.

God said, “There is no peace for the wicked.”[14] Our Father will never trust the wicked with anything. Nothing will be given to them to be entrusted with on New Earth or New Heavens. Nothing. They shall be alive if they repent at the second judgement, but will have no responsibility. So understand that this is the final destiny of the wicked spoken of in Psalm 73:17.

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you.”[15] By “Peace I leave with you,” He meant that the words He gave us contains the ‘way of peace’ with the Father. In the words “My peace I give you,” He left us with the peace He received from the Father, for the Father did turn His face towards Jesus and gave Him peace in all the things He did. Jesus said, “Freely as you have received, freely give.”[16] In this way, a way through Jesus was made for us to have peace with our true Father, so that we can become sons and daughters of God who can be trusted by the Father! Thus bringing peace to the Father in return, and becoming a delight to His soul!

If you tonight, wish for peace with your Heavenly Father, then repent and believe Jesus, the Son of God. Ask for forgiveness of your sins and seek the peace that comes from your true Heavenly Father, through Jesus. Receive His discipline and He will give you peace, for God is Peace.

If you already have repented and believed Jesus’ word, yet still have no peace, then understand that the Fathers is making His face shine on you, by disciplining you, and you will reach peace with the Father once you have responded to your discipline, and He will be able to start trusting you.

Just as the Father blessed the Israelites with, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace,” Jesus blessed us with, “Peace be with you.”[17] Therefore, bless each other with “Peace be with you.” And be ready for the Father to discipline you, so that He can bless you and make His face shine on you and trust you more. Bring our Father peace, as He gives you peace.

“Peace be with you.”


 

[1] Matthew 10.34

[2] Isaiah 59.1-2

[3] Isaiah 59.2-15

[4] John 3.16

[5] Matthew 12:49-50; Mark 3:33-35; Luke 8:19-21

[6] Hebrews 2.10-13

[7] John 14.1

[8] Isaiah 28.16

[9] Matthew 17.5

[10] 1 John 4.8,16

[11] 1 Corinthians 13.4-7

[12] Proverbs 29:17

[13] Proverbs 3:11-12

[14] Isaiah 48:22

[15] John 14.27

[16] Matthew 10.8

[17] Luke 24.36, John 20.19,21,26

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