19 July 2014

Peace, peace, when there is no peace

Ezekiel was a Jewish prophet and priest who lived between 622 BCE and well into the 6th Century BCE. He was among a few thousand Jewish people who were taken into captivity in Babylon, when he was about 25 years old or so and he prophesied for a couple decades along with a contemporary named Jeremiah.  His words then are useful today, so his prophecies were not only for then, they can be helpful to us who want to know the signs of the times and the times of the signs. (By the way, many churches 'celebrate' Ezekiel's life and ministry around 21 July which is Monday.

In what we title "Ezekiel chapter 13" (he didn't break his writings into chapters and verses; we do that), he wrote: “Thus I will spend My wrath on the wall and on those who have plastered it over with whitewash; and I will say to you, ‘The wall is gone and its plasterers are gone, along with the prophets of Israel who prophesy to Jerusalem, and who see visions of peace for her when there is no peace,’ declares the Lord GOD." (13.15-16)

Peace, peace, when there is no peace.

Jeremiah lived at the same time, and some Jewish scholars say that Ezekiel is the son of Jeremiah. Jeremiah said something similar four times in his prophecy, “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially,  Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
But there is no peace."  (6.14)

Again in Jer. 8.11 “They heal the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially,  Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace."

Then in chapter 12, verse 12 “On all the bare heights in the wilderness destroyers have come, for a sword of the LORD is devouring from one end of the land even to the other;  There is no peace for anyone."  And finally we read in Jer. 30.5 “For thus says the LORD, 'I have heard a sound of terror, of dread, and there is no peace."

This weekend I watched the news for hours. Different newscasts; different presenters; different scenes and the same hope. I was hoping that the cease-fire would be real in Israel and Gaza. I was hoping that the battle, the iron dome, the missiles, the bombing would be over. I was hoping that no more civilians would be used as human shields. I hoped that the infantry, now up to over 60,000 Israeli troops would be able to go home and have Shabbat like I was having. I hoped that the Hamas-driven government in Gaza would not conscript any more children and strap weapons on them, sending them into the fray of war. I was hoping for peace.

I was hoping that the commentators would announce that peace was real, and available, and everyone wanted peace. And they wanted it right now.

When I was in Russia last month, I heard the sabre rattling of Vladimir Putin in relation to gas delivery and the debt Ukraine owes Russia. The people were indifferent, but the political and economic people were worried. Crimea was already done, and the takeover/ vote. Now comes the Malaysian Airline MH17 and the obvious shooting by a military surface-to-air missile from a Russian-influenced war site. What will Mr Putin do?

Dr John Blaxland from the Australian National University said the MH-17 tragedy could trigger an even deeper conflict in Ukraine.

“Putin may choose not to back down. He has a lot invested in Ukraine and if he takes that course it won’t be good,’ Dr Blaxland said. “The Russian Army is poised on the Ukraine border.”

Peace, peace, when there is no peace.

So we return to Ezekiel and to chapter 13. He said, "“It is definitely because they have misled My people by saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is no peace. And when anyone builds a wall, behold, they plaster it over with whitewash." 

This may sound silly, and Ezekiel is highlighting the silliness, and the inefficacy of the wall which is no wall at all. Just as the peace which some demand (put down your weapons Israel) is useless and won't be real at all. A plaster wall is no wall in the fields, and in war. That peace which comes is no peace at all. The Word Biblical Commentary says, "This is a rough stone wall, a terrace wall of loose, unmortared stones. What the prophets had done was tantamount to plastering over such a dry wall, giving the impression of a solid, substantial structure."

What do we usually call this? Hypocrisy. Phoniness. Pretention. A lie.

God was not happy with prophets who predicted and told fortunes of peace, when the Jewish people were destined for troubles and no peace at all. Our Temple in 586 would be knocked down. Our lives would be massively disturbed because of our own sins and prophesying, "Peace" when there was no real peace at all was tantamount to saying 'wall' when there was no wall at all.  
So my hopes for peace in Israel, Gaza and Ukraine, are they wasted? Is there no hope for peace?

I believe there is hope for peace. But not in a handshake and not in a treaty, cease-fire, or CNN-inspired deal.

Yeshua, the Jewish messiah, son of David, said, "Peace I leave with you. Not as the world gives do I give to you... These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have troubles, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."   (recorded in John 14.27 and John 16.33)

Real peace comes from the real Messiah who really cares about Ukrainians, about Dutch children, about Gaza youth and Israeli pedestrians. He cares about you and about me, no matter our views of gas and oil, and our views of justice. He wants us to know Him personally and to live without hypocrisy, without fake walls, without fake peace. 

Real peace comes from the Prince of Peace. Will you dare to get to know Him? Will you dare to ask the Almighty if Yeshua is really the Messiah? Don't buy the peace process. Don't buy the prophets' messages of 'she'll be right, mate.' Only in God is there real life. Trust Him. 


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many Israelis here are doing their best, under immense stress, to keep their families safe as they are constantly dodging rockets and running for cover. Peace is sought but not found by most. Many fellow Israelis are turning their attention to the heavens, in prayer for the peace and safety of their loved ones and for sons and husbands, brothers and daughters, who have been called to battle. I am so thankful that I found my Messiah many years ago. I was then in a battle of a different sort when Yeshua gently beckoned me and I responded. I thought then, that I was the only Jew in the world who came to faith in Him. Believe me, I did my biblical research to be sure that I wasn't going crazy and nope, clear as crystal clean water, it is He. Within 4 years of the discovery which changed my life forever over 27 years ago, I made aliyah and have lived in Israel ever since. It's my prayer that many Jews, not only in Israel, but everywhere, would discover the One who brings everlasting peace. The peace of this world doesn't come with much promise but the peace and life that Yeshua brings, promises everything. Diana B