Day 11: “Shalom to the Nations”
How does God feel about segregation? Is there division in the kingdom of God? What is God doing to bring people together from every color, culture and class?
“…and He shall speak Shalom to the nations; His rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.” – Zechariah 9:10b
God’s design from all of time has been for humanity to flourish across the planet, united in Him and living in dignified interdependence with each other and creation. This Shalom community comprised of all nations has always been God’s heart for us, and in the deepest places of longing, humans desire that reality as well. But as the chaos of sin entered creation and embedded itself in the human heart, the quest for power over others began manifesting in wars between people groups and things like racism and classism became something to expect in every society. There always seems to be a people group acting as the oppressor and there always seems to be a people group suffering as the oppressed. Communities, cities, and countries naturally segregate into groups based on their similar cultural leanings, their socioeconomic status, and/or the color of their skin. Being around people just like yourself has become normative for humanity, but this is not normal for those of God’s forever family. The nations of this world will continue to rage against God and His design (Psalm 2), but God’s plan will prevail, and it will happen through the speaking of Shalom to the nations.
There are many prophecies in Scripture, like Zechariah 9:10, that speak about a King who would come and bring peace to the earth and “gather the nations” back to God and to each other, united in purpose to glorify God and manifest maximum flourishing for all God’s image-bearers. After the nations were scattered due to their rebellion against God at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11), God called one man, Abraham, to be the father of His new multicultural family that would bless all people groups of the earth (Genesis 12:1-3, 22:18). Revelation 7:9-10 previews a future reality in the City of Peace to come where all people groups are united in worship before the throne of this King and the chaos of sin has been utterly consumed by Shalom.
How does that happen? The truth is, it is happening, and one day will be completed. God is speaking Shalom to the nations right now and will continue to until the City of Peace made up of all nations is manifested. The good news of the gospel is that God is seeing to this personally. The King of the universe Himself has shown up on planet earth in the person of Jesus Christ, the Seed of Abraham, to speak peace to all people groups and empower us with His Spirit to join in this mission of bringing the beauty and bounty of every culture into eternity (Isaiah 60:4-9). He chooses to bear the full weight of our sin upon Himself and do away with it once and for all, giving us His perfect righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Instead of conquering the world with violence and oppression, He does it through sacrificial love. His Shalom SHALL win this world over and we as His people SHALL share life forever with our great God and each other. Those of us who have already come to find our peace in Christ and are embracing our new cultural identity as His people, have been commissioned by our King to go display this Shalom to all people everywhere and announce Christ’s rule by making disciples who will do the same (Matthew 28:18-20). We get to join Jesus in this redemption story as we use our voices and our resources to this end. The City of Peace is being built and we are God’s builders, His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do these good works of reconciliation between the nations that He has prepared for us to do (Ephesians 2:10-22).
1. What are the ways your city is segregated, and the various people groups are not united in peace?
2. Pray that God through His people would speak Shalom into your city and bring people back together across the lines that often divide. Pray for the dominant culture in your country to repent of its oppressive ways and for leadership to be raised up that values the poor and marginalized, and the minorities who are struggling to find peace in the midst of oppressive systems.
3. Write out and pray for different nationalities around the world that have not heard about Jesus and the Shalom He is bringing to planet earth. Pray that they might hear the good news of the gospel of grace, repent of their sins and follow King Jesus into this new world He is leading us into.