Saturday, 25 February 2012
It is a very popular Hebrew term, used as a "hello" and "goodbye" for the comings and goings in life. Yet like most words, English cannot encompass what magnitude and depth this word contains. Following what the Strong's Dictionary tells me, it means more than just the "peace" that people imply. Peace is a poor English word to describe what a huge expanse this word entails. Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord (7965). Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full.
When used in the Hebrew, it is the fullness that is comparable to a debt that is paid. That is, the debt is not partially paid, but fully--there is a sense of the completeness and the efficacy of the shalom being complete, and requiring no further action. Keeping this in mind, I wonder when we read the words of Jesus -- he often uses the greeting: "Peace be unto you," a translation of shalom aleichem -- what that would mean to us.
If it is, that Jesus is calling for our debts to be paid, and ourselves to be made whole through the freedom from the bondage of sin. What if shalom meant more than just peace, as we have understood it to mean, but Jesus continually inviting us to drink of the Living Water and eat of the Bread of Life? Applying this, are we seeking more than just peace, but are we looking for the debt of our sins to be paid fully.
Moreover, if we greet our brothers and sisters with the greeting--shalom--do we wish them completeness, wholeness...etc. ? Do we hope and pray for the utmost of graces and love to be lavished upon them, because Jesus certainly did for the people he encountered. To have the heart of Jesus is to know love other as you would treat them, and to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength.
"But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin." 1John 1v.7
Do you say shalom on a daily basis? Did you know what exactly you were saying?