I am often enthralled with the minute details that formulate the entire picture or system by which we SHOULD observe and follow. Rarely do I think that we see the trees through the forest and I can understand why.
However, on Shabbat, it’s time to dig deep, and as a random thought crosses my mind, I take the time to meditate on it for a few minutes. Let’s talk about one of many that happened to me today.
In Matthew chapter 5, we have a speech known best in Christendom as “The Beatitudes”. In verse 9 we have the beatitude which states, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called Sons of God”.
Why did this stick out to me, you might ask. Well, he didn’t say “Peacekeepers”, he said “Peacemakers”. I often remember pastors telling us that we should be peaceful then somehow applied this to turning the other cheek. But that’s not what it says. Peacekeepers maintain existing peace, and that’s not what he is talking about…not even a little bit.
Imagine with me, if you will, unrelenting chaos. Are those who run away the ones he calls Sons? Seems unlikely. In a masculine patriarchal faith where we have a Father who is in heaven, not a heavenly mother, I cannot imagine the picture of peacemaking one which causes cowardice.
But the COWARDLY, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”Revelation 21:8
The apostle John is told that cowardly people will suffer the second death. Now we’re getting somewhere!
Since I am not a fan of using strict English when reading scripture, I would like to drop some OG NT linguistics here and there. The word “cowardly” is referenced by Strongs reference G1169 here: “From δέος deos (dread); timid, that is, (by implication) faithless: – fearful.”
Faithless and fearful. Cowardice.
Why do I bring this up in relation to peacemaking, though? Well, peacemakers and cowards are opposing ideas in the scripture. One is called a son of God, the other is cast aside in the lake of fire (the second death). A peacemaker cannot be a coward. We really need to put energy and focus on the characteristics of the ones he wants and the ones he hates (yes, hates).
Now, let’s look at pictures of peacemakers. While the entirety of the army of Israel was at stalemate with not an army, but a single (albeit very large) man. Goliath stood between the armies of Israel and conquering the Philistine army. Everyone was afraid to go face the giant man, but while a 9 year old David stood in wonder at why no man would go, he (a boy who kills lions) would become the hero of this battle. Remember, before this happened, Adonai said to Samuel that he chooses David, because he would do whatever He tells him to (connected idea).
Let’s move back a bit.
Slayer Priest of Israel
And see, one of the children of Yisra’ěl came and brought to his brothers a Miḏyanite woman before the eyes of Mosheh and before the eyes of all the congregation of the children of Yisra’ěl, who were weeping at the door of the Tent of Appointment.
And when Pineḥas, son of El‛azar, son of Aharon the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation and took a spear in his hand, and he went after the man of Yisra’ěl into the tent and thrust both of them through, the man of Yisra’ěl, and the woman through her belly. Thus the plague among the children of Yisra’ěl came to a stop.
And those who died in the plague were twenty-four thousand.
And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying,“Pineḥas, son of El‛azar, son of Aharon the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Yisra’ěl, because he was ardent with My ardour in their midst, so that I did not consume the children of Yisra’ěl in My ardour.
“Therefore say, ‘See, I am giving him My covenant of peace, and it shall be to him and to his seed after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was ardent for his Elohim, and made atonement for the children of Yisra’ěl.’ ”Numbers 25:6-13
Literally non-cowardice. Man of action and zeal.
Let’s move backwards in the timeline once again, shall we?
Jacob picks a fight.
And he rose up that night and took his two wives, and his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford of Yabboq. And he took them and sent them over the stream, and sent over what he had.
And Ya‛aqoḇ was left alone. And a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.
And when He saw that He did not overcome him, He touched the socket of his hip. And the socket of Ya‛aqoḇ’s hip was dislocated as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I am not letting You go until You have blessed me!”
So He asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Ya‛aqoḇ.” And He said, “Your name is no longer called Ya‛aqoḇ, but Yisra’ěl,a because you have striven with Elohim and with men, and have overcome.”
Footnote: aYisra’ěl means “to strive with Ěl (God); to overcome with Ěl (God); to rule with Ěl (God)”.Genesis 32:22-28
Jacob gets his hip dislocated yet stays in the fight. He has a purposes and refuses (even if it kills him) to release the man. Jacob is later shown to have a permanent disability from this encounter yet I see no record of complaint, rather he worships the Lord in all things. This is a man who could have allowed the man to leave and have peace, but his soul would have had no peace because he knows he let a blessing he desperately desired slip through his fingers. Cowardice has no place in this story, rather courage in overwhelming odds.
I think I have laid a foundation for you, and I hope you are still with me. I’m still going somewhere with this. Hang on tight, the ride is going in 3…2…1…
And from the days of Yoḥanan the Immerser till now the reign of the heavens is violated, and the violent seize it.Matthew 11:12
More to your memory is probably the phrase “The kingdom of God suffers much violence, and the Violent take it by force!”
Some compare this with Luke 16:16, but I differ in my view. How can the kingdom be taken by force? It doesn’t say they try to take it, but through violence they ARE taking it. I imagine an old Kung Fu master holding a pebble and daring you to take it from his hand. I kind of get the idea that he’s saying, “Come and get this, it’s the Kingdom of Heaven!”
I’m going to curve ball just a tad, but I’m almost done. Stick around.
Bringing it all back to the beginning
“Blessed are the meek, because they shall inherit the earth.”Matthew 5:5
How is this related? What does that even mean?
Well, let’s place this into perspective: Meekness is a man who has a sword, knows how to use it, is willing to use it, but through self-control and knowing when to use it is perhaps not now, he keeps it sheathed. It’s the adage, “Better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.” Meekness is the ultimate lesson of martial artists and military disciplinarians the world over. This is a picture of a centurion in formation, a Marine at attention, an Airborne paratrooper in the plane ready to leap. These men, all of them, at readiness to come get some.
Now we know why the famous Colt pistol was called the Peacemaker. But how does this tie back to peacemaking? I just went into meekness, ~ you can’t inherit if you aren’t a son.
Who are called Sons of God? The Peacemakers!
Who will Inherit the earth? The Meek!
The meek know what it takes to get the peace, because they were there, and they are the ones who did it!
Jordan Peterson, the world renown and sometimes controversial Psychologist, Historian, and Philosopher has something to say on the topic, believe it or not:
“If you’re harmless you’re not virtuous, you’re just harmless, you’re like a rabbit; a rabbit isn’t virtuous, it just can’t do anything except get eaten! That’s not virtuous. If you’re a monster, and you don’t act monstrously, then you’re virtuous.”
I often summarize it in a different context as “Victimhood is not a virtue, and cowards are a waste of space.”
OK, OK, I’ll wrap it up!
In summary, I hoped to reach in and help you find your violence, control it, and use it when needed! I see people all the time just watch as evil takes hold. We continuously allow it to have reign over our communities, children, wives, and ourselves. We excuse it as longsuffering. We tell ourselves that the masculine energy is wrong. We have feminized the church, the synagogues, the political system, our homes, and our very souls!
Peacemakers. The root isn’t Peace…it’s MAKERS! Make the future happen, stop allowing it to happen to you! Happen to it! Happen to evil! You don’t make the devil tremble when you are in Bible study…you make him tremble when you take that learning and DO it! Elijah was never mentioned to be a prophet before he went to the king and declared him wicked. He was supposed to die that day, and we still hear of his work and doings. Stop waiting on a sign to do righteousness. Stop waiting on God to tell you to do it first. That is sidestepping responsibility and blaming God for your cowardice. “God didn’t tell me to, and I have things to lose.” Those who love their life will lose it and those who hate their lives will gain it eternally. No wonder it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom.
Elijah was only ever sent to the widow. Everything else he did was because it had to be done.
Do your job!
Talk is cheap!
Those who talk will be ruled by those who do.
Be a PeaceMAKER!!