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First Published JCF Newsletter October 2010

By Gary Alley

It is the most important lesson we learn in childhood. It prevents civilization from falling into anarchy. One could argue, it is the foundation of the Bible.

Psalm 34:14 commands us, “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursueit.” The Hebrew word for “pursue” is typically used of warriors passionately chasing their enemies who are fl eeing in the heat of battle (Lev 26:7; Josh 8:16). In Psalm 34 though, the reader is not to pursue their enemy’s defeat but rather peace with their enemy. This pursuit of peace demands the same amount of devotion and intensity as a soldier seeking victory.

Psalm 34 is at the core of Jesus’ command to make peace, Peter’s exhortation to live in peace, and Paul’s mandate to promote peace (Matt 5, I Pet 3, Rom 14). Shalom or peace is much more than the absence of war; it is a pursuit of wholeness, wellness, and mutual respect.

Peace has been a controversial subject within the Body of Christ, especially regarding the modern state of Israel and its Palestinian neighbors. Predominately, there are two opposing camps within the Church, one that sides with the Palestinians and the other that supports Israel. Jeremiah 29:7 should cause all camps to pause and consider. “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city (Babylon) to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if [Babylon] prospers, you too will prosper.”

Despite our disagreements, we should pray for good for those we think are against us. While the terms of a just and secure peace agreement are always debatable, may we never be a stumbling block to peace. As followers of Jesus, the pursuit of peace is our godly calling. Seeking peace with our enemy (i.e. Babylon) is what God’s Word commands, and what Jesus demonstrated on the cross..."when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of his Son." Romans 5:10