“I am tired of living among people who hate peace.
I search for peace; but when I speak of peace,
they want war!”
Psalms 120:6-7 NLT
Pick up a newspaper or switch on the News at 10 and I can guarantee two things – most of what we see or read will be bad news, with very little good news, and there will be news reports about wars, bloodshed and strife between nations. The Psalmist was fed up with negatives. Most of us, I’m sure, have been around negative people. Ever been involved in a conversation like this?
Me: “It’s nice seeing some sunshine today.”
You: “Ah, but I think it will rain later”.
Perhaps the Psalmist was involved in a conversation like this.
Psalmist: “Both those nations have a claim on that piece of land but it’s far better to negotiate a
People: “That’s rubbish – we don’t care what they say or claim – if they don’t back off we’ll go to war.”
If that was the situation, then the Psalmist must have been despairing. I can relate to where the Psalmist is coming from when he talks about being “tired of living among people who hate peace.”
Jesus taught about peace. In Matthew 5:9 we read, “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” Perhaps one interpretation of this verse is about the responsibility God’s people have in promoting peace. Conflict is never far away from us, in our families, amongst our friends, in our communities and nations, so perhaps we need to be pourers of oil on troubled waters, helping to put things right, helping to restore relationships.
But there is another peaceful place to be and that is in our relationship with God. James 4:4 highlights the issue of how we war against God. It says, “Don’t you realise that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God”. He goes on to say in verse 8, “Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world”.
It might be appropriate to consider God saying our verse from Psalm 120 today. God’s love for us is such that he yearns for us to be at peace with Him, but when we go off into preferring a sinful world to our relationship with Him, we are effectively declaring war on God Himself. A scary place to be, folks!
At this time of year, we consider the Prince of Peace, Jesus Himself. The Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 9:6 shines like a beacon of peace in the warring verses around it. And the following verse gives us hope, “His government and its peace will never end…”. We have read the last chapter in the book – peace wins in the end.