Numbers 6:22-27 (Part 8) – Shalom: More Than Just the Lack of War, It is Wholeness & Completeness

Posted: July 24, 2016 in Book of Numbers

Numbers 6:22-27 (Part 8)

The Priestly Blessing

As we conclude our look at The Priestly Blessing today, we are reminded of the conclusion of World War II. At that time, the country of Germany lied in ruins. Hitler’s determination to fight to the bitter end left his country in shambles. The Allies had destroyed everything. Infrastructure of the country was almost non-existent. Many buildings were destroyed. It was a hopeless situation for most Germans. Sure, Germany had been the cause of two world wars at this point. Why not just leave the country in tatters and go home? It had been a long six year war. Millions of people had died over Hitler’s psychopathic desire to rule the world. Let German lie in ruins. They deserve that. However, it was the fact that we left Germany in ruins after World War I that led directly to the rise of Hitler and subsequently to World War II. It was the decision of the Allies, and particularly, America, to rebuild all of Europe including Germany. It was better to spend the money to rebuild than to leave Germany destroyed and allow another nationalistic demagogue to rise up from the ashes and start the whole cycle of war over again. It was better to make Germany upright again. It was better for us to stay in Europe and supervise the installation of infrastructure and the installation of a democracy in Germany (at least in western Germany anyway). If we have made any wise decisions in spending American tax dollars during the past two centuries, this decision will go down as one of the best. With great poverty and destruction that would have been Germany after World War II, we would have civil war there and that would likely have led to another dictator to rise up and rule the country. The end of World War II brought the end of the old world order over which centuries of wars had been fought to maintain. It was time to do something different. Rebuilding an enemy rather than leaving him in ruins. What a novel concept that was. To restore a nation, to make it whole again, was so different. We drew the line in the sand and said no more. No more wars of a global nature. Here, this is it. This is the end of that world. Sure, it was a power play by the United States to establish ourselves as the world’s most dominant nation. However, there was wisdom in making Germany whole again. Although Germany did not deserve to be made whole again, it was best to restore them to a productive neighbor rather than leaving them as you would a rabid dog.

 

Post-war Europe after World War II reminded me of the peace of which we will talk about today. Peace only comes when we are made whole. It is not simply the end of war where there are the conquerors and the vanquished. Peace is when all parties are complete and have what they need. Let us read through today’s passage and think of what “peace” really means here. Here, again, we read Numbers 6:22-27 once again for today:

 

22 The Lord said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

 

24

“‘“The Lord bless you

    and keep you;

25

the Lord make his face shine on you

    and be gracious to you;

26

the Lord turn his face toward you

    and give you peace.”’

 

27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

 

When we hear the word peace we usually associate this to mean an absence of war or strife. However, the Hebrew word שלום (shalom, Strong’s #7965) has a very different meaning. The root of this word is שלם (shalam, Strong’s #7999) and is usually used in the context of making restitution. When a person has caused another to become deficient in some way, such as a loss of livestock, it is the responsibility of the person who created the deficiency to restore what has been taken, lost or stolen. The verb shalam literally means to make whole or complete. The noun shalom has the more literal meaning of being in a state of wholeness, or being without deficiency.

 

Shalom, then is more than just the absence of wars or the rumors of wars. Yesterday, we talked about how God grants us, gives us peace. It is that completeness, that wholeness that is in Him but not in us. We have no peace because of our sin nature. We only find peace through the one who can grant it. We cannot create it because we do not have it. It is only in Him that there is peace. Shalom is to make whole, to give what is lacking. In God, we find that He did not have to grant us shalom but He makes us whole anyway through Jesus Christ. He loves us that much. He could just write us off and allow us to tear ourselves apart and condemn us to hell. But He rebuilds us and makes us whole and complete through Jesus. Shalom is a grant to us. The noun, shalom, and the verb, shalam, speak of completeness. There is a sense of contentment and the end of rage that goes along with this word, shalom. It is a state of being. It is the state of contentment. It is granted to us through Jesus Christ. There is no contentment in the absence of Jesus Christ.

 

In the absence of Jesus Christ, we seek to fill the hole in our soul (that God created in us that is to be filled by Him through Jesus) with other things. Money, fame, power, sex, drugs, man-made religions. All of it comes up empty. We seek and yet we never find. These things that are not of God are nice while they last but they do not bring us everlasting contentment. True peace, true contentment only come through a relationship with Jesus Christ that puts God first in our lives. The thing is…is that we do not deserve the peace granted by God. We have waged war on Him since the Garden of Eden. We don’t deserve for Him to make us whole. He rebuilds us though we do not deserve it. He makes repairs to our soul, our infrastructure, though we do not deserve it. We deserve to be left in ruins. But, He loves us so He makes us whole. He offers us a way to be restored to His favor. No longer warring against Him, restored by Him, He rebuilds us and gives us completeness. He gives us wholeness. He gives us shalom!

 

Amen and Amen.

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