In America folks say, ‘Have a Nice Day!’ In Australia most say, “G’day, How ya going?’ In England it’s probably, “Good morning’ or ‘How do you do!’ In Paris, ‘bonjour.’ Boring folks just say, ‘hello!’ In Israel it’s always, ‘Shalom.’ That simple word contains such a beautiful and powerful blessing. The best known meaning of shalom is ‘peace.’ But it has a far greater meaning than that.
Israelis will say ‘Shalom’ in the morning or when they first meet you. Again they will say ‘Shalom’ as they leave or say goodbye. According to Strong’s Concordance Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom certainly contains a complex, meaningful whallop!
Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full. In modern Hebrew the obviously related word Shelem means to pay for, and Shulam means to be fully paid. Jesus is called Sar shalom, Prince of Peace, which perfectly describes the ministry and personality of the Messiah “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9: 6)
So when someone says ‘shalom’ by way of greeting, it is significant. The word conveys an blessing. What greater could we have in our turbulent world than peace?
How ‘shalom’ are you today? What’s your peace level? Do you enjoy an assurance of peace, or are you fragile, fearful and stressed?
We are invited to experience true spiritual and emotional shalom every day. The Apostle Paul gives us the formula: “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus and the God of peace (Shalom) shall be with you.” (Philippians 4:4-9)
When the Lord was preparing to depart and go to be with the Father. He promised His disciples peace. “Let not your hearts be troubled,” He said. He promised His shalom. He said that the Holy Spirit would come to be their Comforter and Teacher.
Jesus reminded them of all the things He had said to them (John 14:25-26).
Most of us lose His peace when we focus on our circumstances and not on His powerful Presence in our lives. He made His gift very clear. “Peace (Shalom) I leave with you, my peace (Shalom) I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)
The disciples will face wicked persecution and even death. Their lives were truly turned upside down and through their personal painful experiences, they retained His peace, His shalom!!! They were truly grounded by faith in Him.