Hello and welcome-or welcome back-to Renaissance Woman. This week I am continuing my study of Isaiah 45:7 specifically “peace”.
I remembered Malcolm Smith had done a lecture series on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5) and, curious what he had to say about peace, I found and listened to them. The Hebrew word translated “peace” in my study passage is shalom and, in the first Peace lecture, Mr. Smith explores all the word means.
First of all, shalom is not merely the absence of war. Shalom describes union-the fitting together of two or more, and it means harmony, melody, covenant friendship. Shalom is reconciliation, wholeness, completeness, tranquility of heart, and a sense of well-being. Mr. Smith also says shalom is abundance. Shalom doesn’t stay inside of us. It comes out through our words and hands and brings abundance because it springs from a mind that thinks abundance or thinks in terms of “enough”.
I have had ample opportunity to think about these definitions of peace. I have been going through a great deal over the last weeks. I believe it is a Holy Spirit truth that He does not guide me into a path of study without also guiding me through situations where I get to experience just what I’m studying. I have wondered “how am I going to pay for this”, “what am I going to do about that”, and “I have no idea how to begin to deal with this other thing.” I have needed Peace and there have been times I have felt anything but peaceful. I have Mr. Smith’s definitions written down and my thoughts have not progressed far beyond the first definition he gives: that of Union.
I know my Father is with me no matter what I am going through and no matter how I might feel about it. He cannot leave me. We are united, fitted together, One Spirit because I am joined to the Lord Jesus Christ in and through the Holy Spirit. This is a truth that deserves celebration and peace and yet it is one that is also frustrating. He is with me. I am in Him and He is in me. In Him I live and move and have my being every iota of every day. This being so, if He would just tell me what I should do next, where were going, and what exactly is going to happen, then I would have peace.
I don’t know about any of your experiences with living life out of the Holy Spirit but He has never done that for me. I pray about a situation, put it entirely in His hands (something I often have to do over and over), trust that He will handle it, and then ask Him to open my eyes so I can see how He has chosen to handle it. The path ahead is never completely clear. A door will appear to open and all I can do is try and walk through it. Sometimes it will be an open door but sometimes, while the door itself will close, it will have opened a pathway to learning something I did not know and experiencing something new: in this case, peace.
Union. What does it mean? There are various groups of people who are united around an idea or a creed but this is agreement rather than union. True union belongs to God. We find it in the heart of God in that mysterious union of Father, Son, and Spirit. We are included in this union in Jesus Christ by His Spirit living within us. This union is vital and alive. I have seen a picture of this vital union during my study of the Hebrew Letter Shin and I was not surprised Mr. Smith’s first definition of shalom was union as the first letter of shalom is the Shin.
I’ve looked at Shin twice before and shared how the word Shin means urine and, without the Yod; means tooth, claw, or jaw. The picture is of chewing food, breaking it down, digesting it, and then eliminating it as waste. Shin represents the totality of an overall process, one that is whole, entire, intact, complete, integral, full, and perfect. (1) This process is one that is repeated over and over and, considering the learning process, what we repeat over and over becomes inculcated within us.2
I have also found Shin is the letter in the Hebrew word for fire (esh), and begins and ends the word for the sun (shemesh). The three upraised arms of the letter Shin represent the flames of fire. Here too is the idea of consuming and, thinking of the refining of gold or silver; there is once more the idea of processing and completion.
While conducting my study on Isaiah 45:7, I have also been reading a series of studies on the Book of Revelation. I have just finished the section on Revelation Chapter 12 so have the Woman in the Wilderness fresh in my mind. She is persecuted by the dragon but is given two wings of a great eagle so she can fly into the wilderness to her place where she is nourished. (Verses 13-14). The wilderness is a dangerous place where food and water are scarce and yet the woman has a place in it and it is a place where she is nourished. This was called to mind when I looked up Shin in Mr. Haralick’s book and saw he gives it the definition of Cosmic Nourishment.
I can attest to everything I’ve written in this post being true because I’ve experienced it. My life will be full of knowledge of the Holy Spirit and awareness that I am in the midst of great rivers and streams and then those rivers and streams dry up and I find myself in a barren wilderness with no idea what’s going to happen or where I’m going to go next. I read in those same Revelation studies that God calls us to the wilderness places, not to torment us, but to bring us into a deeper revelation, relationship, and reliance on Him. I see this is true because there is a specific place in the wilderness for the woman where she is nourished. She is not cast into the wilderness to wander aimlessly until she drops dead. No, she is cared for.
Knowing it is true doesn’t make it easy. The pain is real. The circumstances are real. The worry and helplessness are real. I do not feel nourished and cared for right away. I know God is with me. I know He will never leave me nor forsake me. I know our union is one that cannot be dissolved no matter what happens. Yet I know I am in a tight place with no way out, totally helpless, and all I can do is wait until He rescues me. My attitude is not always one of faithful submission. It’s more, “a little help here! Now!”
I am still in the wilderness. I don’t know what will happen from one day to the next. I still feel the grinding and processing revealed by the Shin. In the midst of it, the refreshing and nourishment has come so I can also attest to the faithfulness of our God. He is with me, always, even unto the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). He does make a way where there is no way and the spring of peace has just begun to bubble to the surface.
Inculcate: to tread in, tread down, to trample underfoot, to impress upon the mind by frequent repetition or persistent urging
- Haralick, Robert M., The Inner Meaning of the Hebrew Letters, Jason Aronson Inc., Northvale, New Jersey, 1995, Page 295
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1982
Bentorah, Chaim, Hebrew Word Study Beyond the Lexicon, Trafford Publishing, USA, 2014, Pages 148-152
Guralnik, David B., Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, Second College Edition, William Collins + World Publishing Co., Inc., Cleveland•New York, 1970, 1976