When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7
Makes . . Peace – God has an answer to terrorism. It’s not the one the world employs. Our solution is political; a mix of failed negotiation and fruitless power. God’s solution is spiritual; a deliberate alignment with the Author of peace. Why we spend so much useless effort trying to control the evil acts of others is the story of the Fall. It is a hopeless delusion because it avoids the central issue of all rebellion – my heart. There is no answer to terrorism or any other form of human despotism until I find the answer to my own rebellion. When I am no longer a terrorist before God, then He (not me) will change my world.
The Hebrew construction here is quite descriptive. It could literally be translated “He will compel to surrender even his enemies”. The verb is shalam, a word that means both “to be safe” and “to complete”. God’s plan for terrorist control does not depend on my strength but rather on my submission. When my ways come completely into alignment with His character, then He will act on my behalf to bring about the surrender of my enemies. This is the only permanent solution because it is the only solution guaranteed by God.
What a mess we make of the entire sphere of human relationships when we think that we are in control. We are not. We have control over only one thing in life – our relationship to Him. All the rest is really beyond us, even the apparent “control” over our bodies and our minds. Just try controlling your body after an attack of food poisoning if you don’t believe me. God asks us to manage the vertical relationship. When we do, and only when we do, He promises to handle the horizontal relationships, even the ones with our enemies.
What kind of God would you be worshipping if He could not deal with your enemies? How impotent would He be if He had to leave the really tough circumstances up to you? That is not the picture of Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews. The fundamental anchor of Hebrew culture is this: God is in control. Once we understand what that really means, our lives become so simple. We are asked only to obey His will and He will take care of the rest. Our biggest problem is that we want some input into obedience. We want to make our own suggestions to God’s decisions. That is the height of foolishness. Just reflect on the food poisoning. Trust and obey says the old hymn. There is no other way.