In the Middle East - peace, when and how?
Jews, Christians and Moslems all share religious claims on Jerusalem, the religio-political hub of the Middle East. Yet despite the rich homage paid to that city, the mingling of violence with religion has long been an established fact of its history.
40 centuries of strife
Middle Eastern oil is a major ingredient of Western interest in the Semitic world, the record of whose strife spans almost 40 centuries, back to the days of Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac. Any nation, far or near, that wades into Middle Eastern conflicts is entering a whirlpool that may draw them downward into irreversible difficulties.
Every day, news reports on the Middle East present scenes whose kaleidoscopic shifts are variations on the central theme of unresolved tension and conflict. Add to this picture of strife, the many nations in other parts of the world that are embroiled in revolts, civil unrest, border clashes and diplomatic conflicts that defy resolution even by the most skilled mediators. Political analysis and prediction are not our purpose here, but we seek to answer the question, “When and how will peace come?”
God's word presents a reassuring answer.
Is there an answer?
God's word presents a reassuring answer. In treating this subject we draw all our thoughts in this short article from a reservoir of truth that flowed through the pen of a great prophet honored alike by Jews, Christians and Moslems. That prophet is Isaiah, who lived 2700 years ago, but whose divinely inspired vision extends far beyond time, culture and creeds into the golden age of peace destined to follow this era of seemingly endless turmoil that buffets our world.
God promised that through the Messiah, who is the Prince of Peace, His government of peace shall be universally established: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6,7
True peace found in God
All who reverently direct their affections and thoughts to God will have His peace: “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
Those who choose the God of the Bible will have peace established deep within their lives: “Lord, you will establish peace for us, for You have also done all our works in us. O Lord our God, other masters besides You have had dominion over us; but by You only we make mention of Your name.” Isaiah 26:12,13.
Submission to God's strength brings peace into our lives.
Submission to God's strength brings peace into our lives: “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me, and he shall make peace with Me.” Isaiah 27:5
God's righteousness received within produces peace and freedom from anxiety: “The work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.” Isaiah 32:17
True peace cannot be experienced apart from harmony with God's law: “O that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” Isaiah 48:18
The True Messiah has secured the opportunity for us to have peace by His suffering sacrifice on our behalf: “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
God ultimately prevails
God's word and ways shall ultimately prevail, and when they do His peace shall shine forth forever: “My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts… My word… shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out with joy and be led out with peace.” Isaiah 55:9,11,12.
God is the Author of peace
God is the Author of peace, but the evil and rebellious have no peace, unless they repent and turn to God: “I create the fruit of the lips; peace, peace to him who is far off and him who is near,' ‘says the Lord, ‘and I will heal him.' But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. ‘There is no peace,' says my God, ‘for the wicked.'” Isaiah 57:17.
To all who accept God's covenant of truth and grace, He promises: “I will extend peace to her like a river.” Isaiah 66:12, see verses 1-3,5; 56:1-8.
We see, then, that peace is not a fruit of political negotiation and mere human ideology, but is an essential attribute of God. When we are in harmony with Him and His ways, then we have a peace which the world can neither give nor take away. Further, God's word assures us that the day is rapidly approaching in which His eternal Kingdom of peace will bring an end to the cruelty and injustice that crush the lives of so many in our world today.