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An Umpire Named Peace
10 March 2013
Although this article can be read on its own, it is also the fifth in a series of articles. You might like to read the previous four first, in order to understand the context that the following thoughts were written in:
As we all know, the Bible was NOT originally written in English! The Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New Testament are very rich and expressive languages. Sometimes important meaning is lost in the translation, which might be part of the reason there are so many English versions of the Bible. It can often be helpful to read a certain passage in multiple versions in order to discover its full meaning. It can also be valuable to look up certain key words in Strong's Concordance.
Such is the case with the Hebrew word shalom, which in English is usually translated as "peace." But that is such a woefully inadequate translation, because shalom is so much more than "mere" peace! While it does fully encompass "peace," at the same time it also means: wholeness, completeness, well-being, restoration, prosperity, welfare, health, safety, fullness, and more! Now that's one word that sure says a mouthful!
I don't know about you, but I'm deeply longing to be full of shalom, God's Shalom, in my inner person. If I were to have, deep in my heart, the reality of all the meanings listed in the previous paragraph, I would feel like I had already entered Heaven, although my body is still alive on this Earth! No wonder Yeshua (Jesus), the Messiah, is called the "Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).
Not only is Shalom a word pregnant with meaning, but in his writings, the Apostle Paul used other "pregnant" words to describe how Shalom can work in our daily lives. For example, he wrote:
"Let the peace of Messiah rule in your hearts." (Colossians 3:15a)
The Greek word which Paul used that is translated "rule" is much richer than simply "rule" More fully, this verb means: "to umpire, to decide or determine, to direct, control or rule." And this is the only verse in the New Testament where this word is used.
In other words, what Paul is saying is "Let God's Shalom, His peace, be the umpire in your heart, helping you decide or determine what is from God in your life and what is not." Or, as the Jewish New Testament puts it: "Let the shalom which comes from the Messiah be your heart's decision-maker."
In baseball, one of the functions of the umpire is to decide whether a player is "safe" or "not safe" (out). In tennis, an umpire needs to determine whether the ball was "in play" or "out of play." In both sports, the umpire is the judge, he makes the ruling, and his word is authoritative and final.
It is the same with the Shalom of God. Shalom is to be the umpire in our hearts. When we are faced with the multitude of daily decisions in our lives, we need to let God's Shalom determine whether this or that decision is "safe" or "not safe." God's Shalom can tell us if a certain choice we make is "in play" or "out of play."
But it's not enough to hear Shalom make its call. We must tune in to Shalom's voice and decided to obey it rather than trusting in our own, human understanding and judgment. It is at this point that faith plays such a vital role. Will we choose to be led by God's Shalom, even if it seems foolish to do so, or will we disregard God's Shalom, following instead our own "wisdom" and our own will? In the end, the choice is ours and ours alone.
Rather than following this good advice and doing things God's way, I chose to disregard God's Shalom, even though it was warning me not to walk through the open door of opportunity which was before me. For reasons I have explained in The Dangers of Presumption, I felt like it made more "sense" to presumptuously follow my own understanding rather than the promptings of God's Shalom.
The Bible talks about the dangers of going our own way rather than God's way:
"The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Yeshua the Messiah." (Philippians 4:7)
Once again, the Greek word translated "guard" is one of those "pregnant" words! It can mean: "to prevent hostile invasion by the protection of a military guard." This reality has great significance for our daily lives, especially when combined with the above verse from Colossians.
If we let God's Shalom umpire in our hearts, obeying its warnings about what is "safe," then our hearts and minds will be guarded and protected from hostile invasion by the enemy. But if we ignore the directions of the umpire called Shalom, then we are "out" of the circle of guards, on "not safe" ground, and open to hostility from the enemy.
This is most definitely what I experienced by not following the ruling of God's Shalom umpire in my heart, but following my own "logical" way instead. As the verses above state, woe to me ... there's more hope for a fool! During my week-and-a-half of employment, I felt as if I had absolutely NO grace from God to be at that job, that my inner person was unguarded, and that the enemy had invaded my thoughts and emotions. It was a VERY horrible experience which I hope I will never have to repeat!
If this was a lesson from God to not neglect the umpire called Shalom in my heart, it does kind of seem like strong medicine! I don't think my words can convey a sense of what I experienced, but let me assure you it was very intense and over-the-top, which has made it very hard to understand and explain. Nevertheless, as I have pondered it for the last week or two, asked God for understanding, and studied the Scriptures, I do feel like some level of understanding has come to me, hence these articles I am writing.
As I have shared previously — see Three Years Later — I have had a subtle but persistent sense that very hard times are coming upon the Earth in the not-too-distant future. If this really is God's "still, small voice," His "gentle whisper" (1 Kings 19:11-12), and not just my own imagination, then perhaps such extreme times call for extreme measures and extreme training in preparation. Only God knows for sure. He is my Master, and the One in charge of my training. My only choice is whether to submit to and cooperate with His training or not.
As I continue this series of article analyzing my recent experiences, I will take a look at another strategy of the enemy to hinder our walk with Yeshua in The Fear of Man Is a Snare.
This article is 13th a series of articles on this Web site related to My Journey with Yeshua (Jesus) which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
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