(KJV) Philippians 4: 7 & 9 … And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus … And the God of peace shall be with you…
In preparation for writing this devotional, I looked up the word peace to be sure what it meant. Peace, according to Webster’s Dictionary and Strong’s Concordance, is a state of quiet or tranquility; freedom from disturbance; security and safety; and calmness of mind. Peace can be as big as national affairs, as small as internal feelings.
I began reading Philippians this month because it has several good passages about peace and how to live in harmony with one another. I became fascinated with these two phrases in chapter four: the peace of God and the God of peace. There must be a difference between the two. Could it have to do with that little word in the middle of each phrase?
Of. It’s such a small word, but it has many different definitions. I want to share of few of those meanings with you, and I hope it’s an encouragement to you. Let’s get to know the God of peace just a little bit better.
- Derived or coming from – the peace of God – Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” This is the peace that calms storms – and not just those storms that are wind and rain. Paul wrote Philippians from a jail cell in Rome. This certainly counts as a storm of life, but Paul was calm, and even peaceful. Those around him could see the difference, and he made an impact in Rome (Phil. 1:13 and 4:22).
- Resulting from, caused by, or through – sleep, a result of peace – Psalm 4:8, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.” The Psalmist says only the Lord can make him feel peaceful enough to sleep well. How can we have more peace in our lives? We must seek the Lord and ask for His peace.
- Made from, using a specified substance – thoughts of peace– Jeremiah 29: 11. “For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” God must have a lot of things to think about every day, but when He thinks about His people, He thinks about how He can help us have peace in any situation. He knows when we need a full night’s sleep or when we are feeling angry toward someone. He wants to help us find peace in Him. He is so good!
- Denoting possession or property – the Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6-7a, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end…” There is a day coming soon when Jesus Christ’s kingdom will be established, and His kingdom will have peace like no other earthly kingdom has ever known.
- Having as a distinguishing quality or attribute, characterized by – the God of peace – Philippians 4:9, “And the God of peace shall be with you.” Our God is known for His peace. It is one of His distinguishing qualities. And it’s what makes Him so different from all the other false gods of the world. Our God offers us a peace that nothing else on earth can give because His peace is a part of Himself.
I think that last definition stands out above the others. This is why Paul used the phrases peace of God and God of peace. There is a difference. The peace of God, Philippians 4:7, is a state of mind, a tangible calmness that we can feel in the midst of life, no matter what is going on around us. And while it is great to have the peace of God calming us in our storms, how much better is it that we have the God of peace standing with us in those storms? Philippians 4:9, The God of peace shall be with us.
Can you imagine Paul in the dungeons of Rome writing this letter to the Philippian church? Can you see him, calm and even happy there in his cell? He’s experiencing the peace of God that passes all understanding, and he puts that phrase in his letter. He writes a few more words, sets his pen down and thinks about what he just wrote. Then he realizes why the peace of God can surpass all human knowledge: because the God of peace is with him.
Do you see it? The peace of God passes all understanding because the God of peace is with us.
There is one last passage I want to show you. As I began to search the Bible for the phrase “God of Peace”, I found this one in Romans 16:20. The more I looked at these different definitions and thought about how great our God is, this verse took on more meaning to me. Romans 16:20, “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” The God of Peace. The God who created peace and thinks thoughts of peace toward us. The God who is peace shall shortly bruise our enemy, Satan, and give to us eternal peace. Peace without sin. Without fear. Without tears. Without war. Without whatever is hurting you today. That’s our God. The God of Peace who is with us all.