We are promised a king who will reign in the wisdom, power, and faithful love of God; therefore he will be the Prince of Peace. Remove any of the first three names, and this fourth one becomes impossible, inconceivable, unfathomable. Coming after all three of them, however, this one is almost inevitable. Isaiah describes a ruler with the love and commitment to desire only what is good and right, the wisdom to understand how to make all things good and right, and the power to make that happen and to defeat any who would try to oppose him. What else would such a monarch bring but peace?
This doesn’t just mean the absence of war, either. If a king were powerful enough, he could accomplish that without being either wise or loving. The biblical concept of peace is much bigger and much greater than that. As I’ve said before, this is one of those Hebrew words that’s worth learning for everybody, because you can’t translate it with anything less than a paragraph. This is the word shalom.
At its root, it means to be whole, perfectly complete and unmarred; it carries within it the concept we call integrity. To experience shalom, to live in the peace of God, is to be in complete harmony: first of all with God and his will; and because of that, second, within yourself. The result is a calm, unshakeable sense that all is well, and freedom from anxiety. This in turn creates harmony with others, to the extent that they are willing to be at peace with you. There will always be those who aren’t, whatever their reasons; the peace of God gives you the ability to behave peaceably toward them regardless, and to pursue peace with them even so. A life of shalom is a life lived in tune with God, ordered by his order, in accordance with his will.