God loves shalom! The word is used over 250 times in the Old Testament. It is an ancient word, a Hebrew word that is ripe with deep meaning. The Hebrew Lexicon and Dictionary defines shalom as, “completeness, wholeness, peace, tranquility, absence of agitation or discord; rest and harmony.”
God “shalomed” after the creation by resting on the seventh day, and He enshrined a day of rest by sanctifying it (Genesis 2:1-3). Shalom comes from the word shalem, meaning “to be complete, perfect, and full.” His holy city, Jerusalem (note shalem), means “city of peace.”
Shalom is the absence of war, conflict, and disjointed disturbance. It is the deep sense of harmony and wholeness with one’s environment, both in physicality and in relationships. All people, no matter their background, ethnicity, or race, long for shalom. It unites us all.
Jesus, the “Prince of Peace (shalom)” (Isaiah 9:6), embodies the essence of true harmony in our spirit, soul, and body. This is why Paul concludes his letter to the Thessalonians with these words, “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.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
All of us long for shalom in our lives. This begins with the born-again heart, the new heart God gives us when we fully surrender to Him. But this is just the beginning.
Life is hard. Life is full of pain, malevolence, and struggle. Keeping our shalom is not easy. Indeed, it is a battle. Yet we don’t give up. We are always on a stretch and strain to forge a peaceful heart.
This summer, may I encourage you to seek after shalom. Start with yourself. Take inventory of your heart. The greatest command Jesus ever gave (Matthew 22:35-40) is our starting point: Are you loving Jesus with all of your heart? Are you loving your neighbor as you love yourself? If not, confess that to the Lord and surrender to His shalom. Embrace His shalom. It is the shalom of Jesus that sets us free.
“Behold, on the mountains
The feet of him who brings good tidings,
Who proclaims peace (shalom)…” Nahum 1:15