The word shalom is the Hebrew term most often translated “peace.” It also means “hello” and can even be used to say goodbye! The word summarizes the timeless aspirations of the Jewish people looking towards the day when Messiah comes and reigns on His rightful throne in Jerusalem. In that day, the wolf will lie down with the lamb, instruments of war will be transformed into farming equipment and both Jews and Gentiles will live together in harmony! We know that this true peace Jews and others are looking for will come with the Messiah and His kingdom will be characterized by peace.
So, when we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as David writes in Psalm 122:6, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you,’” we are praying for the Lord to bring peace to the hearts of individuals and to cities and nations fractured by war and seemingly insurmountable conflicts. The peace we pray for is not simply a superficial halt in hostilities, but includes the unleashing of His magnificent and transforming power to change lives, communities and even nations.
The challenges to peace today in Israel, as well as in other countries, are complex and we need more than political and economic solutions to experience the depth of peace our souls long for these days! This demands some type of spiritual peace, as without spiritual transformation, there can be no earthly, lasting solution to the problems that afflict Israel, her neighbors or you and me.
Yet, realistically, we must ask ourselves, “How can there be peace in Israel?” It seems impossible! So, allow me to share a few stories, which I hope will encourage you to continue praying for and believing that God can bring peace to a troubled land.
Here are some illustrations of individual Israelis who have found lasting peace according to the promises of God.
Henry N. was born in Moscow in 1961 to a well-known family of musical prodigies. His extraordinary prowess as a young pianist seemed to hold out the promise of a great career for young Henry. However, drug and alcohol addiction dogged his steps from his youth. He tried every avenue of help, from psychiatry to hypnotism, to free himself. For a time, suicide seemed the only way out. In 1991, Henry and his wife, Irena, decided to relocate to Israel. Henry continued to abuse alcohol while Irena worked two jobs to support them. Despite a change of scenery, the old patterns persisted.
While reading the newspaper, Henry and Irena noticed an announcement about a meeting being held by Jewish believers in Jesus. Now desperate for any lifeline, Irena urged Henry to attend. For the next two months, they did not miss a meeting at Chosen People Ministries’ Messianic congregation near Tel Aviv. Finally, in September of 1991, Henry put his faith in Jesus as his Messiah. Immediately, he was healed of his alcoholism and drug addiction. Two months later, Irena also believed in the Messiah. Because of this decision, Henry experienced peace for the first time in his life!
Born and raised in the town of Bat Yam, just south of Tel Aviv, Racheli S. grew up in a traditional, religious Jewish home. Her parents immigrated to Israel; her mother from Canada and her father, a Holocaust survivor, from Germany. Her testimony bears witness to the way the Lord is able to draw people from around the world to serve His sovereign purpose. While walking in her neighborhood with a girlfriend, she met a young man from Ghana who was studying at the university.
A friendship began, and through this young man, who was a believer in Jesus, Racheli was drawn to visit a congregation where African foreign workers would worship. Racheli enjoyed the worship, particularly the music, and the Lord began speaking to her through her African friend and a young German woman he introduced her to who was also a student. As the Lord continued to speak to Racheli, she became increasingly open to the Gospel. She was particularly impressed by the connection between Yeshua (Jesus) and the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures, which helped her to see the Jewishness of the Gospel message. She became a believer in Yeshua as her Messiah in 1990.
Racheli found peace that sustains her through difficulties, the challenges of raising children in Israel and so much more!
The remainder of this booklet describes many others, men and women, Jews and Gentiles, who have found Yeshua the Messiah and by inviting Him into their lives as their Redeemer, have found forgiveness of sin, joy, happiness – and peace! We hope you will enjoy these stories – some of which are also on video.
May the Lord of Israel open your heart and eyes to Yeshua and give you peace!