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Vayikra/Leviticus 26:6 I will give peace in the Land
It is interesting that this verse, which starts a section dealing with peace and security, is bracketed by verses promising G-d's provision of plenty in the Land.Rashi comments, "Perhaps you will say, 'Here is food and here is drink; [but] if there is no peace, there is nothing!' The verse says, after all this, 'I will make peace in the Land.' From here we see that peace as is weighty as everything else. And so it says, 'He makes peace and creates all!'" Peace is the filling in the sandwich between two slices of bread - that G-d promises to bring forth from the earth - and just as you cannot have a sandwich without the bread, you cannot eat the bread without a filling; without peace there is no opportunity to enjoy the good things that the L-rd will provide in the Land.
The Sages gave a discussion in the Talmud (b. Berachot 11b) connecting this verse with Isaiah 45:7 - "Forming light and creating darkness; making peace and creating evil; I am Adonai who makes all these." The Rabbis are a little squeamish openly to ascribe the creation of evil to G-d, so where this verse is quoted in the first blessing before the Shema in the Shacharit prayer service it is paraphrased to , makes peace and creates all/everything. 'Everything' includes 'evil', so this is a generalisation to avoid being specific.
Isaiah prophesied of Messiah, "For a son to us will be born ... and His name will be called ... , Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:5). Rav Sha'ul explains how this works: "For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall ... that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace" (Ephesians 2:15-16, NASB). Yeshua Himself is our peace because He makes peace. Notice the difference in the Isaiah verse: "making peace and creating evil"; whereas evil is simply created - spoken into existence and there it is - peace has to be made; it requires a hands-on effort to make peace by a process of reconciliation. Yeshua did this for us: reconciling us to G-d and making peace not only between G-d and man but between Jew and Gentile.
Rav Sha'ul makes it plain that we are to be involved: "G-d, who through the Messiah has reconciled us to Himself and has given us the work of that reconciliation ... therefore we are ambassadors of the Messiah" (2 Corinthians 5:18, 20 CJB). G-d has called us to be actively involved in making peace, not simply abstaining from fighting or conflict ourselves. But it all comes from G-d - as the Kaddish says: "He who makes peace in His heights, may He make peace upon us and upon all Israel. Now respond: Amen."
Further Study: Matthew 5:9; Hebrews 12:14; Romans 12:8
Application: In our zeal to put the world to rights and speak out about justice and righteousness, it is easy to forget that sinners (like us) are people too, and that we can often be harsh and un-peaceful. Today would be a good day to know peace with G-d for ourselves and to share it with others.
© Jonathan Allen, 2005
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