|Peace, Glorious Peace!|
The Story: Where God dwells in greatness and love amid His people, there peace obtains (cf. Rom. 14:17, 18). Asaph uses the symbols of warfare to show that Israel’s striving has ceased; God has brought peace (“Salem”, v. 2) to His people whom He loves. Warfare in the Old Testament often serves as a sign of the spiritual condition of God’s people. When they are advancing against an enemy, it generally indicates God’s favor and pleasure. When they are being driven back, His discipline is upon them for some sin. When peace obtains between Israel and the nations, then the people rest in the presence of God, as in the days of Solomon, when Asaph prophesied and led the people in worship. This verse would have served to remind Israel that the great prosperity and influence they knew under Solomon (1 Kings 10) was an expression of the Lord’s favor. Moses had warned Israel that, when they became fat and happy, they would forget the Lord. Asaph saw those tendencies beginning in his day (Pss. 50, 73), and he used his role as one of Israel’s worship leaders to remind the people of the true Source of their prosperity and peace.
The Structure: The New Testament’s use of military terminology to depict the spiritual life (cf. Eph. 6:10-20) derives from such Old Testament passages as this. God is the Giver of our peace, but we must “work hard” (Eph. 4:3) to maintain it, especially within the household of faith. Prayer and good works are the way to keep peace within the household of God (Phil. 4:6, 7; Gal. 6:1-10). Peace doesn’t “just happen.” It is the work of Jesus Christ and His Spirit, Who overcame all our enemies on the cross and out of the empty tomb, so that we could “fight the good fight” of faith and know God’s peace in the midst of every trial or anxious situation. Peace is the gift of God; when we begin to think that our own efforts and qualifications have brought us peace, we have lost sight of peace’s true character and provenance. Where peace does not exist – within our souls, between men or nations, throughout the world – we must seek the Lord for it first, and only then take up whatever work may be required to attain it.
What are some things that threaten your peace day by day? Meditate on Philippians 4:6, 7. How should you apply these verses to help in maintaining the peace God wants you to have?
For more insight on reading the Psalms, get the book, How to Read the Psalms, by Tremper Longman III.
The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.