ODJ: A Peace in Pieces

August 27, 2018 

READ: Jeremiah 8:8-15 

We hoped for peace, but no peace came (v.15).

Do you still hope for peace?” a Rolling Stone interviewer asked singer-songwriter Bob Dylan in 1984. “There isn’t going to be any peace,” Dylan replied. His response drew criticism from certain quarters for being “fatalistic”. Dylan’s detractors aside, peace remains ever elusive.

Around 600 years before Jesus, most prophets were predicting peace. God’s prophet Jeremiah wasn’t one of them, and it made him rather unpopular. He reminded the people what God had said when they left Egypt centuries earlier: “Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people” (Jeremiah 7:23). Yet over the years they’d repeatedly ignored the Lord. Jeremiah observed how their “wise teachers” twisted the Lord’s words by “writing lies” (8:8-9). He called these prophets “frauds” who “give assurances of peace when there is no peace” (vv.10-11). “I will surely consume them,” God said (v.13). Jerusalem fell in 586 BC.

Peace is rare. Jesus Himself said, “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth!” (Matthew 10:34). But—isn’t Jesus the Prince of Peace? (Isaiah 9:6). Yes, and one day His peace will reign. But for now, conflict continues.

That doesn’t mean we resign ourselves to fatalism. The Bible provides us with pieces of a puzzle. As we examine each piece, we learn something of God’s character. Jesus is both a mighty warrior and the Prince of Peace. And amid Jeremiah’s dire prophecies we find hope. “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love,” says the Lord. “I will rebuild you” (31:3-4).

God is a God of peace, and He wants us to love and serve Him. Whether we live in a combat zone or dwell in a quiet neighbourhood with barely a whisper of war, our God sets us free to work for peace.

—Tim Gustafson

365-day plan: Luke 19:1-27

Read Rev. 19:11-21 to see Jesus’ role as conquering warrior. What does this passage reveal about God’s character? 
What will you do today to make your corner of the world a bit more peaceful? How has God given you both hope and peace?