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107 The Fruits of God’s Spirit: Peace

The presence of the Holy Spirit will manifest itself in certain ways often called the fruits [or indicators] of the presence of the Holy Spirit, which will develop more and more over time, as we overcome more and more and grow in godliness.  

The scriptures contain a list of the Fruits of God’s Spirit and also a list of the Gifts of God’s Spirit.  Fruits means the evidence of God’s Spirit and nature in a person.  The Gifts of love, wisdom, knowledge and faith  are the same as the fruits, but the gifts of healing, prophecy and tongues are additional special gifts for the edifying of the whole assembly.  This series will present identical Fruits and Gifts together in the same articles, and will place those specific Gifts [healing, tongues and prophecy] not included in the list of Fruits in their own articles. 

We call the end results of anything, its consequences or fruits;  the Holy Spirit in us produces these fruits in us.  

The Holy Spirit is the essence and nature of God, therefore GOD IS:  Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love [agape], joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 523 Meekness, temperance: and we are to grow to become like God.

The fruits of God’s Spirit are the evidences or proofs of God’s Spirit and nature in us.  When we plant a seed that seed will germinate and grow to become a plant.  When God plants his Holy Spirit in us, it will grow [if nurtured by much study,  putting away sin and internalizing godliness, and obedience to every Word of God] and fill us with the nature of God [the nature of God being the nature of God’s Spirit [the fruits of the Spirit].  

The nature of God and of the Spirit of God in us, grows in us through the unresisted presence and growth of God’s Spirit in us.   If we are diligent to learn and to live by every Word of God, to diligently seek all truth – for God is truth, and to reject every false thing, the very nature of God will grow in us, which nature is:  Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

The Foundation of Real Peace

The peace which God’s Spirit gives, is peace between man and God, by leading people towards full unity with God, through the full internalizing of the nature of God; which is defined by the whole Word of God.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The Holy Spirit comes from God and leads the faithful to learn, keep and fully internalize the full nature of God; which is love and truth. God is truth, his Word is truth and his Spirit is the spirit of truth.

The Holy Spirit of God will never lead us to compromise with, or turn aside from; the Word [truth] of God.  That is how we test the spirits to see if it is the Spirit of God or is another spirit; any spirit which rejects zeal to learn or keep the whole Word of God; is the spirit of antichrist.

Any spirit which rejects that the Spirit of Christ is living in his faithful and is leading them to live as Christ lived; in complete submission and faithfulness to God the Father and his Word: Is the spirit of antichrist.

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

The Holy Spirit brings the faithful into a full spiritual unity with God the Father and Christ and the whole Word of God; whichg then brings peace between man and God!

Unity with God brings great peace of mind, for we know that we are his if we are zealously faithful to him and his Word; and we know that He will raise us up in that day, no matter what befalls us in our physical lives!

Unity with God brings enmity in this world; for this present world belongs to the Adversary who hates the things of God.

Yet if we remain faithful and passionately zealous for the Word of our God, even if we are despised and hated, attacked, ridiculed or persecuted unto death; we will have the peace of God abiding in us.

There are many Scriptures about the trials of the faithful in this wicked world, but we can have peace of mind, knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of our Beloved.

Romans  8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When we are at peace with the all powerful King of the Universe and his Mighty and utterly Faithful Son;  That is peace of mind!

Stay focused on God and all of his Word to learn and to keep it, to remove all error and sin and to embrace the truth of God:  That is peace of mind!

The foundation of ultimate true peace; is the truth, love and Word of God!

 
“I Will Extend Peace to Her Like a River”

“For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.” (Isaiah 66:12)

In this study, we are focusing on “peace” the third of the nine qualities of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Just like love and joy; peace is a supernatural by-product of being filled with God’s Holy Spirit. It can only come from God as His gift to those who obey Him. The unbelievers of the world do not know this kind of peace and they do not have it. Only those who genuinely believe Christ’s message, have sincerely repented and committed to sin no more, and have received God’s Spirit, can experience what it truly means to have spiritual peace.

The Biblical Definition of Peace

The Greek word for peace is eirene (Strong’s # 1515) and means: to be (act) peaceful, be at (have, live in) peace, live peaceably, one, peace, quietness, rest. Probably from a primary verb eiro (to join); peace (literally or figuratively); by implication, prosperity, one, peace, quietness, rest, + set at one again.

If we are keeping God’s commandments, first toward God, then toward our neighbors, we will have peace and will promote peace in our families, communities, at our jobs, and amongst our brothers and sisters in the Ekklesia. And it is the keeping and doing of God’s commandments; that brings the highest good and well-being to self and to others and causes peaceful conditions. If the whole world were keeping all of God’s commandments, we know that the whole world would be living in peace.

The definition in the Hebrew language for the essence of what peace means in the Bible and what it is referring to when it talks of peace. There are quite a few Hebrew words for peace and they give a somewhat clearer insight as to what this fruit of the Spirit is about: shalvah (Strong’s #7962) security, ease; shalom (Strong’s #7965) safe, health, peace; shalam (Strong’s #7999) to be safe, be, make complete, completeness, soundness, welfare, peace; shlam (Strong’s #8001) prosperity; shelem (Strong’s#8002) thank offering.

The definition of this word in William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible Series, becomes even more clear as to what peace means. Barclay gives the following definition of the word shalom, the word most commonly used in Scripture in reference to peace.

“In Hebrew peace is never only a negative state; it never means only the absence of trouble; in Hebrew peace always means everything which makes for a man’s highest good. In the east when one man says to another, Salaam-which is the same word-he does not mean that he wishes for the other man only the absence of evil things; he wishes for him the presence of all good things. In the Bible, peace means not only freedom from all trouble; it means enjoyment of all good.” (vol. 1, p. 108)

From this description of the meaning of  peace, we can see that those who have the fruit of God’s spiritual peace are those who first, obey all of God’s Word, and then work for peace, working for the highest good for others and for mankind. It is they who have peace; first with God, who then can be used as His instruments in bringing about that which is good by how they live themselves.

God’s faithful are in training to help Christ at the time of His return to bring about the most beneficial provision for excellent and nurturing living conditions to others; which would include good health, safety, prosperity, wholesomeness, purity, clean and safe environments, good sound relationships, right education, enjoyment of all good things (physical and spiritual).

At this point, living in this present evil world the most important way we can do this, is to teach them about God and about all His ways that would bring about these conditions; if they would only listen, repent, and start obeying God themselves.

And just as the other fruits we have been studying, peace begins in the very heart of a person, in the mind. It is a quality that is a replica of what our heavenly Father and His Son Jesus have. They are abundant in peace and have lived the way that promotes peace from all eternity and it will never cease in future eternity. And they want to extend this kind of peace, starting with their own family and eventually to all the nations of the earth.

When we become converted and come to know the truth, it will free us from all kinds of anxieties, fears, doubts, false beliefs and traditions of men and this will give us peace of mind. As we grow in grace and knowledge, we should be growing in peace of mind as well.

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

As Christians, we still struggle sometimes with anxiety and depression, but we know that we can run to our heavenly Father and ask Him to give us the gift of His Holy Spirit, which will include peace, to help us to overcome our proclivities to become anxious and depressed when we are overwhelmed with the problems of life.

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

God’s Spirit is not a spirit of confusion but is a spirit of a sound mind and of power and when we are filled with this kind of spirit, we too will have peace of mind.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Our God, who is a God of peace Himself and is the source of peace, will give us this peace. It is a gift from Him and we need to ask for it daily.

2 Thessalonians 3:16  Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.

If we are filled with love to live by every Word of God, then we will have great peace and nothing can offend us [or nothing causes us to stumble].

Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them [Turn them aside from God’s word.].

Jesus Christ gave Himself in order for man to have peace with God, to be reconciled with the Father, and it is that peace that we must seek first and foremost. As a result of having faith, repenting of all our sins, committing to sin no more, receiving His Holy Spirit, we become reconciled with the Father and that makes us at peace with Him.

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

When we seek to be forgiven for all our past sins and embark on the journey to becoming spiritually mature and made more and more into the image of God, we in effect, become a new person and are reconciled to God our Father.

Peace is Coming to this Earth

Real and lasting peace is coming to this earth soon after Christ returns, and God’s peace will fill the earth when He begins to set up His Kingdom. As those who are in training now and who have been given this spiritual fruit of peace, we will need to exemplify it to others and teach it to them in His kingdom, as we assist Christ in bringing this kind of peace to the whole earth in the near future

In Psalm 23, David describes a kind of peace that is still, quiet, and restful which we can experience now if we are God’s children and have His Holy Spirit. It is also reflective of what kind of peace that will fill the earth in the millennial setting. This kind of peace is very much lacking in our world, and to finally be able to experience this peace will be very refreshing after having lived in a strife-filled, hectic world all of our lives.

Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

Still resting place in Hebrew is menuchah (Strong’s #4496) and means: comfortable, ease, quiet, resting place, still, or mnuchah {men-oo-khaw’}; feminine of Manowach; repose or (adverbially) peacefully; figuratively, consolation (specifically, matrimony); hence (concretely) an abode — comfortable, ease, quiet, rest(-ing place), still.

This pictures a very serene, peaceful scene of still quiet waters and being at rest and this is definitely a very good kind of peace. This is the kind of peace we need to have as we face perils, and even when facing the valley of the shadow of death.

In Isaiah 66:12 God speaks of peace being like a river also.

Isaiah 66:10 Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: 66:11 That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. 66:12 For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. 66:13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. 66:14 And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the Lord shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies.

This is talking about Jerusalem, God’s chosen city and headquarters of the Millennial Kingdom. This describes the time after Christ returns when He begins to set up His kingdom and the captives are brought back; comparing them to children being born and Jerusalem being like a mother. These Scriptures talk about how the people will enjoy a long and uninterrupted time of prosperity. They shall enjoy a long continuous course of joy, peace and wholeness “I will extend, or am extending, peace to her,” all good blessings, like a river that runs in a constant stream, rushing ahead, gaining in momentum and increasing till it is engulfed in a huge body of water like a lake or an ocean.

The truth of God’s Word and the gospel message brings with it peace such as this, wherever it is received and takes root.

The peace of God that flows like a river, supplying mankind with all good and bounty; making them fruitful, as a river does to the lands it passes through, nourishing everything it touches, making plants and trees green and flourishing.

The peace that God extends will bring His truth and His righteousness, will be healing and comforting and it will refresh and make blossom the whole earth. It is so powerful, nothing will be able to stop it nor drive it back. The peace like a river will come to a broad opening, a place of abundant and endless waters which pictures the fountain of life and will bring true love, joy and a peace-filled world; a blissful environment for all the inhabitants, including the Gentiles.

Psalm 18:19  He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

Isaiah 49:22 Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. 49:23 And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.  

God will extend this kind of peace not only to the Israelites, but also to the Gentiles that are living at that time. They will come pouring over to God, and they too will come to believe in Him, will repent and want to live in accordance with all His ways and in righteousness. Their wealth, honor, power and interest shall all be devoted to the service of God and will work toward the prosperity of the nation, or kingdom of God.

Isaiah 66:13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

This kind of peace will bring comfort to the nations, especially, after coming out of the great tribulation, being humbled, and experiencing the horrible conditions of that time that were the very opposite of peace.

The verses illustrate an allegory of a mother who tenderly nurses her child, carrying him on her sides under her arms, as little children are placed on a mother’s hips as she carries him from place to place, and then sitting, holding and rocking a child, dangled upon her knees. She treats her children as her darlings and affectionately shows them her love and concern, especially when they are tired or hurting.

The Great Shepherd tenderly cares for His sheep, He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them in his bosom and will gently lead those that have their little ones.

Isaiah 40:9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! 40:10 Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Jeremiah 31:20 Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord.

Isaiah 66:14 And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the Lord shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies.

The conditions in the millennial kingdom will bring and cause great rejoicing and will prosper its citizens with healing like healing herbs. God’s glory will be made known to all those who come to know Him and zealously serve Him. Those who refuse to obey and who want to oppose Him, those who want to take away the peace, will be objects of His anger.

But for those who fear and obey Him, they will partake of all that God has to offer to His people. His glory will fill the earth and all will live in peace.

Isaiah 11:9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

Psalm 72:3 The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.

Psalm 72:7 In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.

All Thy Children Shall be Taught of the LORD

All our children and the people placed under our care will finally be taught the whole Word of God and about how to live it. Then the mandate to go therefore and teach all nations,  teaching them to observe all the things that God had taught us will be a worldwide reality with no one holding us back from teaching all peoples of all nations the holy things of God.

Isaiah 53:13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Isaiah 48:15 I, even I, have spoken; yea, I have called him: I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous.

48:16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me.

48:17 Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.

48:18 O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:

48:19 Thy seed also had been as the sand, and the offspring of thy bowels like the gravel thereof; his name should not have been cut off nor destroyed from before me.

48:20 Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth; say ye, The Lord hath redeemed his servant Jacob.

48:21 And they thirsted not when he led them through the deserts: he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: he clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out.

48:22 There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.

Here God says that if only Israel had obeyed His commandments and had kept His ways, their peace would have flowed like a river and their righteousness as the waves of the sea. He says that it is He and He alone that can teach us the way to peace by leading us in the way we should go and by teaching us to learn and to keep all of His commandments.

Then He tells them to come out from Babylon [sin] and repent so that God will prosper them again and provide the waters of living water to them. Then He makes a very stern statement for those who refuse to repent: “there is no peace unto the wicked.” But there will be an abundance of peace for those who return to Him and seek Him with all their hearts and want to live the way that makes for peace!

A Vivid Description Of What it Will be Like in the Millennial Kingdom

I know the following is a long quote, but if we take time out to meditate and think about the kind of world that is coming that Isaiah describes in this whole chapter, it helps us to envision it even more. Studying this and meditating on these things can give us a lot of hope and peace of mind; if we really believe this is going to happen. And it will happen, probably soon, maybe in just a few more years.

And this chapter too, carries the same theme about how God is going rescue the captives out of their captivity and bring them to “The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.” How He will care for His people, prosper them, and how the Gentiles will come to be part of God’s Covenant and all will be taught of the Lord. These themes are woven throughout many sections of the Bible that foretell of the millennial kingdom. What this teaches us about God’s plan for the future and how His is going to rescue His people can fill us with joy and peace.

Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. 60:2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 60:3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

60:4 Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.

60:5 Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.

60:6 The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord.

60:7 All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.

60:8 Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?

60:9 Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.

60:10 And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee.

60:11 Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.

60:12 For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.

60:13 The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.

60:14 The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee; The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

60:15 Whereas thou has been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.

60:16 Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.

60:17 For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.

60:18 Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.

60:19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.

60:20 Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

60:21 Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.

60:22 A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time.

The surviving remnant will come back from captivity, scarred with the horrors of war and cruel bondage, and from being under the control of tyrants and despots. They will need time to be healed and will need to be treated with much kindness and tenderness. And then taught the ways of God, to supplant the sinful ways they lived before that resulted in being thrust into tribulation and correction.

Isaiah 14:1 For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.

The Prince of Peace, Our Model for Peace

The Lord, the Mighty God of Israel, is called the Prince of Peace, He is our Forerunner, our example; the one who will usher in the kingdom of peace that will last throughout all time.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

His names describe the kind of Prince He will be. The titles of the prophesied coming Prince are; and will continue to be for all eternity are:

1. Wonderful, Counselor; a wonderful divine Counselor, a teacher of all righteousness, an instructor of how to keep all of God’s laws and how to live His ways that leads to peace.

2. Mighty God; indicating that the Lord is an all powerful warrior and is sovereign over all and He will put down all the enemies of His peace.

3. Everlasting Father; has the connotation of one who provides for and protects His people, the children of God and will do so forever.

4. Prince of Peace; as He has qualified by being the greatest person of peace Himself, and has been appointed by the Father to reign as King of kings for all eternity.

As Prince of Peace, Christ will ultimately usher in peace once and for all, and with the government of God that will be on His shoulder, He will establish the kind of peace that will be the utmost of righteous judgment and justice. God says through the prophet Isaiah, that it will last through all eternity and it WILL happen because of the Lord’s ZEAL and PURPOSE for it to happen.

Jesus Christ is our pattern of what we must emulate to be rulers of peace by overcoming the things that take peace away in order to qualify to help Him to bring about peace for the whole world. God’s kind of peace will bring about a beautiful, complete and righteous world with a just and righteous government that will rule with the intent to provide for the well being for all of mankind living under that government of peace.

Today’s World so Desperately Needs Peace

Today’s world does not know the way of peace and it is quickly hurdling toward total obliteration if left to go on much longer and if not for God’s intervention. It is filled with violence, wars, crime, broken homes, abused children, babies offered on the alter of abortion, hatred, insanity, disease, suffering, despots that rule with cruelty and an iron fist. Our right to liberties and freedom to follow and obey God are being taken away; the definition of what constitutes godly marriage and family life are perverted; all human decency is mocked and denigrated. There is no respect for anyone anymore.

But the good news is that the King of kings, the Almighty God who is called Faithful and True is coming back to earth in righteousness and with judgment. He is going to wage war against all evil and will put down all those take peace from the earth. And then He will usher in His world of love, joy, peace and righteousness; and together with His Bride will begin the clean-up operation.

If we are being called and have answered that call to be peace makers and become like He is, in His image, we can be on His team in bringing peace, the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit, to all mankind.

Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

What a marvelous and wonderful picture of what God’s peaceful world in the future will be like! We pray that it comes soon.

 
The 15 Psalms of Degrees, and the Fifteen Steps Into The Temple

Psalm 120 – 134 are a group of fifteen psalms that are called the Psalms of Ascents. They are also variously called Gradual Psalms, Songs of Degrees, Songs of Steps or Pilgrim Songs.

“Ma’alot” is the plural of the Hebrew word “Ma’alah”, which means “step”, “degree” or “ascent”.

Psalms 120 through 134 represent the cycle of ascension or pilgrimage songs, in Hebrew “Shirei ha Ma’alot”.

These fifteen psalms were written mainly by David and concerned the ascent from captivity in Egypt into the freedom of godliness; and were sung on the journey to the tabernacle and later the temple, reflecting the journey out of sin and toward godliness, that the Feast and High Days represent.

They were sung on the occasion of the great feasts of pilgrimage – Passover, Shavuot [Pentecost] and Sukkot [Tabernacles]  – on the way up to Jerusalem and eventually when the temple was built, they came to be sung on the fifteen steps of the temple.

In the Holy Temple courtyard, there was an ultra wide stairway that consisted of fifteen large steps, that “ascended” up to the inner section of the courtyard.  The Levites, whose job it was to accompany the Temple service with song and instrumental music, would stand on these steps and sing these fifteen psalms.

Psalm 121 is the second psalm of ascents and is a psalm of comfort and reassurance and if we focus on its message, can give us much peace.

It is liturgical in nature as indicated by the question , “from whence cometh my help?” and then a response is given as if it might have been used in music for worship, sung back and forth between two separate groups of singers.

“Ascent” means to go up an elevation, progression, up steps, or a journey to a higher place; reflecting the journey to becoming united with God in the presence of God; with the presence of God represented by His Temple..

This grouping of 15 psalms were sung in David’s day as the Israelites traveled to the Feasts at the tabernacle, and when the temple was built were sung as the people mounted the Temple Mount from Jerusalem; ascending up to the temple from Jerusalem to worship God.

These fifteen psalms were also sung by Levites standing on each of the fifteen steps to the inner court of the Temple during the Temple services.

This was particularly meaningful at the annual Festivals and High Days when the people were to ascend the Mount to worship at the Temple.  This was the only time that most of Israel had access to the Temple because of the distance from their home areas.

They were to travel and go up to Jerusalem three times a year.

As pilgrim families made the arduous journey for their festive worship, many would use these psalms as encouragement along the way. Then these same songs would have been sung as they drew near and ascended the Mount to the Temple, reenacting the journey of life and affirming God’s blessings of protection for his faithful.

Spiritually this refers to our turning to the LORD and our development through our lives to become like him.

Deuteronomy 16:16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty:

It was at Jerusalem, where God’s temple was, that God placed His name; so the people would travel from wherever they lived in the land of Israel, up to Jerusalem to keep the Feasts.  And would come into the city and ascend up to the mountain of the LORD, The Temple Mount.
These psalms are portraying the people going up to the Temple of the LORD to worship HIM!

Spiritually the ascent speaks of the call out of bondage to spiritual Egypt. Those who answer that call, are the pilgrims in this world and are traveling toward their goal of becoming like God. As faithful followers of Christ, we too, are travelers, on a journey through life, pilgrims living in a world that is not really our own as depicted in Hebrews 11, the faith chapter and by the Feast of Tabernacles.

Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 11:14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

The called-out ones, are called to be ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, in a foreign land that is hostile to the laws and ordinances of that Kingdom and to those who want to keep those laws.

Because we uphold and represent the ways of God, this poses many perils for the children of God who are looked down upon as people that do not conform or fit in with this world’s system.  But God promises that He will be right there at our side in our journey and that He will be our help if we are one of His faithful.  Knowing these things contributes to having God’s peace, if we are looking to and trusting in Him to be with us always.

 

Psalm 121 Commentary

A Song of Degrees [Ascents]
Help from the Lord

Psalm 121:1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

In this particular psalm, it begins with the thought of David looking up off to the hills in the distance. Asking if there is help for him there.

Psalm 121 is a sort of depiction of what we are going through as we walk on our Christian path and how we need to react to the obstacles that come our way and to beseech God for help as we need it, with our eyes fixed firmly on Him as the goal.

Psalm 119:54 Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.

Our lives are but a pilgrimage passing through this world’s maze; with it tests, trials, and temptations. If we are zealously keeping all of God’s statutes, we can have peace of mind, knowing that our Creator is our Protector and Keeper [Sustainer].

Psalm 121:2 My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

The answer to the psalmist’s question of where his help will come from is a strong affirmation: that our real help comes from the Lord, the Great Creator God who made the heavens and the earth, the Creator of all things and from no where else.

The psalmist implies that there is no help for man on this earth and that our real and only help is from God.  It is to God, the Creator, who he lifts up his eyes to. That is what he is ascending toward.

Our true pilgrimage of life is toward God, moving toward Him, drawing closer to Him, growing in grace and knowledge toward Him, and by ascending upward toward the perfection of God.

We are growing more and more into His image in our day to day walk with Him, if we are seeking Him with all our hearts.  All of these concepts are speaking of a growing spiritual maturity and upward movement; going somewhere from a low state to a higher state; being remade into His image and becoming complete as God is complete, as we look to Him to help us to be made complete.

The Mighty God; that is our Shepherd and He alone is our God. He is the one who helps us, guides us, and we are not to look to any substitutes or put anything or anyone else in His place. He is sovereign over all and is our Ruler and Master. The psalmist is directing the people to focus on God, and not the little hills or even mountains that we can visually see in this world and can appear to be able to give us help. They tend to draw us to look to them as our protection and defense, representing mere men and their power, or false gods and false traditions that lead us away from our focus on God. God tells us that He alone is our Lord and Savior.

Isaiah 43:11 I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour.

Isaiah 45:5 I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me…

Psalm 121:3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 121:4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

Our God neither slumbers nor sleeps and will keep us sure on the journey to Him, if we will only follow and obey Him.

Psalm 121:5 The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

The Lord is our Keeper, the one who called us, sustains us and provides for us, and He knows us by name. He is a shielding Protector at our right side, guarding us and He is like the shade protecting us from the sun’s intense heat, typical of the hardships we endure in this life.  He is the shade that keeps us from being destroyed by our trials.

Just as Paul states in 1st Corinthians, comforting the Corinthians that the various temptations we expedience in life are typical of what all believers must go through; all believers throughout the ages have had to resist temptation.

God is so good that He will not let believers experience anything for which He has not prepared them; and He tells us that He will provide a way of escape.

If we are zealous in seeking to keep all His Word, and His laws, He will give the believer the strength to endure and overcome all the trials and tests. These experiences will eventually bring their own rewards as well. (Please see also: 1st Corinthians 9:24-27.) 

1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 

Psalm 121:6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

The phrase “the sun by day nor the moon by night” means that God is watching and protecting us, both night and day; He is never off duty. The Keeper of Israel is always present and will protect from all dangers associated with the daytime and those that are associated with the nighttime. The main theme in the psalm is the safety God provides through constant attention to His faithful pilgrims.

Psalm 121:7 The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

This recalls to mind the words of the writer of Psalm 91, as he describes “the safety of abiding in the presence of God.”

Psalm 91:3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the Fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 91:4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Psalm 91:14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. 91:15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. 91:16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation

Psalm 121:8 The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

The psalm concludes with renewed affirmation of God’s ongoing protection in this life day by day for His faithful children, and on into their inheritance of eternal life to come that will last forever more.

It doesn’t matter, what our circumstances are, or whatever trouble that we may find ourselves in, and/or however persistent and cruel the enemy might be. God is on our side to save us. Therefore, we can trust in Him, because, as the psalmist states in verse 2, He is the Creator God who made the heavens and the earth. Nothing is greater or stronger than He is! And, we can have that same trust and confidence that will give us peace of mind, knowing that He is sovereign over everything that may come our way.

The psalmist also reiterates, that the Lord is there with us as we travel! He says that he will preserve us three times, in three ways, in these last two verses; (1) He will preserve us from all evil, (2) He will preserve our soul, and (3) He will preserve us as we are going out and in our coming in.

The travelers depicted in this psalm, and we do too, have the assurance that because God is with us, protecting us, and helping us in all our needs, He will not allow evil and ungodly men to hold sway for very long. He will protect His people from evil if they are looking to Him, setting Him first in their lives and trusting that He is their help. He will not let the carnal people of this present evil world have too much influence. He will put a hedge of protection around those who diligently keep all His ways and all of His commandments. God will deliver His people from all their enemies in due time, even if they have to wait until the resurrection for total deliverance.

As we live our lives, seeking to please God in all things, we may need to be patient and wait, and this can seem hard sometimes. He is going to bless His people for their faithfulness and their uprightness in their hearts. He is there now with us and will be there for all eternity. We can find blessings and peace while being in the presence of God as we look beyond the hills and mountains that this present evil world has to offer, if we are always putting Him first.

The theme in these Psalms of Ascents, as we have seen in Psalm 121, is that if we finish our pilgrimage, if we reach our destination going all the way to the end, (enduring unto the very end), if we finish our ascent and we reach our goal, (the goal that seemed so far off in the distance sometimes); ONENESS with God, we will find complete divine grace and peace.

We will ascend to the place where we will live in the House of the Lord and will be in His Presence forever.

A study of all 15 of the “Psalms of Ascents” makes for a very good Bible study along this allegory of being pilgrims and traveling toward the Promised Land. And a good companion Psalm to read with this study is Psalm 23. For this is our encouragement and can be our song all the days of our lives; now in this life and for all eternity.

Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

The foundation of peace between people is peace with God, if every person were living by every Word of God they would be at peace with God and humanity.  Why?  Because the Word of God is the definition of peace and the actions which bring peace.  The law of God protects the innocent and establishes an orderly peaceful society of people would only keep it.  

If kept by all, the Law of God guarantees every person security of life, liberty and possessions.  God’s law prevents war and conflict; and if every person lived by the Word of God there would be no theft, thereby encouraging industrious effort bringing good to the whole society.  

To sum up:  Peace comes through living by every Word of God, which in turn is enabled by the gift of the  Holy Spirit of God, IF all mankind would follow that Spirit: Therefore God’s Holy Spirit brings the fruit of peace.  

And even in great distress in this present evil world, the Holy Spirit provides the real and certain knowledge of a far better world to come, bringing absolute assurance and  peace of mind.  

When our Lord comes:  

Isaiah 54:13 And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

By James Malm and  Constance Belanger

Summary Scripture

Psalm 119:165

Great peace have they which love thy law:

and nothing shall offend them.

 
 Constance Belanger and James Malm

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