The Law of First Mention is an intriguing, fascinating and exciting tool useful for exploring the Bible and its truth. This week we have looked at the first use of particular words. One might also explore the initial occurrence of a theme, event, or truth. For example, the first Messianic prophecy in the Bible is found in the third chapter of Genesis. “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15, CSB). Here, as God speaks to the evil serpent, we learn that Jesus, the Promised One, born to a virgin (her offspring), would suffer temporarily (on the cross), but would gain final victory over the enemy. Hallelujah!
Today, let’s consider the first use of the Hebrew word Shalom, meaning peace. We find it as part of God’s covenant with Abram (Abraham).
God comforted him saying, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great” (Genesis 15:1, ESV).
Earlier, when God called Abram to leave his homeland, He had promised, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2–3, ESV).
How blessed would Abram’s family become? God said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them” (Genesis 15:5, ESV). That’s a big family!
But Abram, like us, was born into a fallen world where there are struggles, sickness, and death. Hundreds of years before the birth of Moses, God revealed to Abram that the Hebrew nation would live in slavery. “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years” (Genesis 15:13-14, ESV).
Abram was clearly the recipient of God’s grace! Even though his offspring would feel the sting of God’s discipline, God promised Abram, “you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age” (Genesis 15:15, ESV).
That’s the first mention of peace... shalom! Shalom is a covenant promise. Peace is God’s promise, made to God’s people.
In the New Testament, the angels’ declared at Jesus’ birth, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace” (Luke 2:14 ESV). Jesus came to deliver a new covenant of peace.
Paul declared that only born-again believers can “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1, ESV). In fact, “He Himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14).
God’s promise of peace is for today, with all of life’s challenges and struggles. Covenant peace is also eternal. Like Abraham, we “shall go to your fathers in peace!”
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor