Finding Normalcy in a Chaotic, Confused and Scary World
Read Leviticus 26:1-13
"I shall grant peace in the land so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble."
Recently I was talking with someone, and we were talking about the recent events in Ukraine. The person expressed a desire that we all feel, "I just want some sense of normalcy again." For the past two years, our lives have been interrupted by a pandemic that has disrupted every aspect of life. However, it did more than just change our patterns of activity. It brought confusion as no one agreed about the disease's severity, prevention, and treatment. But this confusion also revealed deep fractures existing in our society that were lying below the service.
Along with the virus, our society erupted into political turmoil as people became divided politically over the meaning of racial equality, the purpose and role of government, economic theory, and the definition of morality. Then, just when it seems as though we have finally navigated through the disruption and there seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel, a crazed despot threatens world peace by invading Ukraine and giving veiled threats of the unthinkable through nuclear war. When will it stop, and when will life return to normal?
In the Old Testament, the word for "peace" (shalom) refers to more than just the absence of conflicts. The word appears 271 times in the Old Testament. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, a Hebrew Dictionary, describes the word's meaning in this way:"' Peace,' in this case, means much more than mere absence of war. Rather, the root meaning of the verb šālēm better expresses the true concept of šālôm. Completeness, wholeness, harmony, fulfillment, are closer to the meaning. Implicit in šālôm is the idea of unimpaired relationships with others and fulfillment in one's undertakings." It speaks of a life that is free from anxiety and fear and characterized by an inward sense of peace, safeness, satisfaction, and wellness.
In Leviticus 26, we find God promising this peace and freedom from fear for those that walk in obedience to his word. In other words, true peace, the inward sense of wholeness and wellbeing, comes not by our circumstances but by our relationship with God. This obedience, however, is not just grounded in moral decisions but a vibrant relationship with God. In verses 11-12, God gives us the promise, "Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people." Genuine peace is relationally driven rather than governed by circumstances.
If you find yourself struggling with anxiety and fear over the events of our day, if you find yourself unsettled and wanting some level of inward peace. The answer is not found in a change of circumstances. It is found in a change of relationship. It is to seek a personal relationship with God through daily living in obedience to him, interacting with him in prayer, and daily gaining a fresh perspective of life through the study of his word. When these become our focus, we will discover true peace even in a chaotic, confused and scary world.