WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
OCTOBER 22, 2020
TOPIC: PEACE ON EVERY SIDE
BY T. O. BANSO
“You know that my father, David, was not able to build a Temple to honor the name of the LORD his God because of the many wars he waged with surrounding nations. He could not build until the LORD gave him victory over all his enemies. But now the LORD my God has given me peace on every side, and I have no enemies and all is well” (1 Kings 5:3-4 New Living Translation).
One of the names of Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Peace is a scarce commodity in many places today. Many people don’t have peace of mind; the same goes for many nations. There is violence, breakdown of law and order, and an increase in all kinds of crime with many people being killed recklessly. A majority of law-abiding citizens are living in palpable fear.
If there is any prayer many citizens are praying today, it is for peace and security, which the security agencies in some climes are unable to guarantee due to many factors.
One day, Jesus went to Jerusalem. As He and His disciples came closer to the city, He began to weep over it: “I wish that even today you would find the way of peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from you” (Luke 19:42 New Living Translation). May peace not be too late for you and me and our country. May we find the way of peace early before it is too late.
The New King James Version renders Luke 19:42-44 thus: “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation” (New King James Version).
Jerusalem, at the time Jesus spoke, was experiencing peace though it was under Roman domination. But Jesus gave a prophecy of what would happen to Jerusalem in years to come. What He saw was so disheartening that He wept.
The religious leaders, out of envy, would crucify the Prince of Peace not long from the time He spoke. Jesus said it was too late for Jerusalem to find the way of peace. The things that made for Jerusalem’s peace were hidden from her. The enemies would besiege Jerusalem on every side and level it to the ground. No stone shall be left on another. This would happen because they rejected the opportunity God offered them.
The words of Jesus came to pass in A.D 70 when the Romans, led by Titus, besieged Jerusalem to quash a Jewish revolt that had begun at about A.D 66. The Romans entered the city, burnt it, and killed several Jews.
There are things that make for our peace or bring us peace. When we are blind to them or neglect them, we invite violence, crisis, war, or lack of peace. We must diligently work for peace, not confusion, violence, mayhem, crisis, war, and the likes by our words, actions, or inaction. Matthew 5:9 says God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. The government and her people must work for peace. We must pray for it but we must also work for it.
The government and the people must not pay lip service to peace because, without peace, not much personal or national development can be achieved. Resources meant for development are diverted to prosecuting a war or trying to restore peace. This is not the best.
It is better to avoid a crisis than to manage it; it is better to avoid war than to try to win it. This is wisdom. Wisdom says, “All who listen to me will live in peace and safety, unafraid of harm” (Proverbs 1:33 New Living Translation).
Development thrives in peacetime, not in wartime. That’s why we need peace; our society and country need peace. David spent much of his time, fighting wars; he couldn’t think early of building the LORD a Temple. Finally, when he wanted to build the LORD a temple, He said the assignment was not for him.
Hear the LORD: “Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever” (1 Chronicles 22:9-10 New King James Version).
Take note of that phrase: for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days. May the LORD do the same for us today. May He give peace and quietness to my nation and your nation. May all forms of violence cease. May peace be restored to our land in Jesus’ name. The LORD gave peace and quietness to Israel because this atmosphere was needed to build the Temple, which lasted seven years. Wars would have been a distraction.
Solomon also spoke about this in 1 Kings 5:3-4: “You know that my father, David, was not able to build a Temple to honor the name of the LORD his God because of the many wars he waged with surrounding nations. He could not build until the LORD gave him victory over all his enemies. But now the LORD my God has given me peace on every side, and I have no enemies and all is well” (New Living Translation).
Did you see that David could not build because he was fighting many wars with surrounding nations? It took some time before the LORD gave him victory over all his enemies. But Solomon’s case was different. The LORD gave him peace on every side, and he had no enemies and all was well. Work for peace in your marriage, home, society, and nation. Many good things cannot be done in wartime or crisis time.
Leaders, including political leaders, don’t always do the right things that promote peace. Sometimes their decisions can precipitate a crisis. They may not be just and fair. Sometimes their advisers give wrong counsel that could cause unrest. That’s why we need to pray for them. “Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:2 New Living Translation).
In some cases, it is the citizens that are blind to or despise the things that make for their peace; they beat the drums of war, probably because they feel the section they come from or the group they belong to are stronger. That’s a faulty mindset.
The king of Israel, Ahab, sent this word to Ben-hadad, king of Syria, who was boasting and threatening to attack and destroy Samaria: “A warrior still dressing for battle should not boast like a warrior who has already won” (1 Kings 20:11 New Living Translation). The New King James puts it this way: “’Let not the one who puts on his armor boast like the one who takes it off.” The LORD eventually gave Ahab victory over Ben-hadad.
Let’s wage peace, not war. Nobody is sure how and when any war that starts will end. It’s better to establish peace and guard it jealously. Even the victor in a war still, somehow, suffers some losses.
God wants His children to live in peace (1 Corinthians 7:15b). He doesn’t want the loss of lives and property, which happens when there is a breakdown of law and order. Hebrews 12:14a says to try to live in peace with everyone. Similarly, Romans 12:18 says to do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.
In Isaiah 54:13-15, the LORD made a perpetual covenant with the people of Israel, saying, “I will teach all your citizens, and their prosperity will be great. You will live under a government that is just and fair. Your enemies will stay far away; you will live in peace. Terror will not come near. If any nation comes to fight you, it will not be because I sent them to punish you. Your enemies will always be defeated because I am on your side” (New Living Translation). May we experience this in our nation in Jesus’ name.
Speaking through Jeremiah about Jerusalem’s restoration after she might have fallen, the LORD said, “I will surely bring my people back again from all the countries where I will scatter them in my fury. I will bring them back to this very city and let them live in peace and safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God. And I will give them one heart and mind to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants” (New Living Translation).
In Micah 7:14, the prophet Micah prayed to the LORD for Israel: “O LORD, come and rule your people; lead your flock in green pastures. Help them to live in peace and prosperity. Let them enjoy the fertile pastures of Bashan and Gilead as they did long ago” (New Living Translation). These are good prayer points – that the LORD will come and rule our nation and lead us, that He will help us to live in peace and prosperity.
The third stanza of the hymn, “Lord God, We Worship Thee”, says, “Lord God, we worship Thee! And pray Thee, Who hast blest us, That we may live in peace, and none henceforth molest us: O crown us with Thy love; Fulfill our cry to Thee: Our Father, grant our prayer”.The phrase: “That we may live in peace” is my prayer for my country at this time. That nobody will molest us henceforth. It could be your prayer for your country too.
Let’s pray for peace and work for it. The LORD will grant our prayer and reward our labour for peace.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, put an end to violence and bloodshed in my city/country. Let all killings, maiming, and arson stop. Help us to live in peace and safety. Let not the things that make for our peace be hidden from our eyes. Cause our governments at all levels to be just and fair to all. Help us to find the way of peace. Give us peace on every side.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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