Counselors of Shalom

A major cause of death in our world is heart trouble. I don’t mean heart attacks or heart failure; I mean that nearly everyone endures the daily grind of a troubled heart, which often presents as lingering anxiety and low-grade depression. More and more people are experiencing a relentless inner churning, characterized by discontentment, insecurity, instability, doubt, unrest, and uncertainty. A troubled heart lacks peace and struggles to find assurance. One remedy for a troubled heart is a friend who can offer wise counsel.

Solomon understood the value of community when the trials of life begin to take their emotional toll. When we start feeling sorry for ourselves, ungodly solutions to our problems appear more attractive, and malcontents come out of the woodwork. The sage warned that deceit is in their hearts and they counsel evil as a remedy to life’s struggles. He urged us to seek “counselors of peace” instead. The term translated “peace,” however, describes much more than mere “freedom from disturbance or disquieting thoughts.” The Hebrew word is shalom, which combines the ideas of peace, prosperity, wealth, health, completeness, safety, and—most important—rest in the sovereign care of God. It’s a “kingdom of God” word. This remains the ultimate hope of Jews, who anticipate a quality of shalom available only through the rule of Messiah.

According to Solomon, we must seek out advisers who think and speak in concert with the mind of God. They don’t merely offer a pep talk or cheer us with humor. Instead, these people of God offer hope and encourage godly responses to life’s struggles. Eventually, if we heed their counsel, joy will displace our anxiety and depression.

From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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