Fight for a Higher Peace
Yael Eckstein | November 17, 2022
Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him. —Numbers 25:12
Peace, shalom, is a paramount value for both Christians and Jews. Explore this elusive attribute through my devotions and what we can learn about adding it to our lives, our relationships, and our world.
My father, Fellowship Founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, of blessed memory, was a bridge-builder. Of course, the most famous bridge that he built was The Fellowship, which enabled millions of Christians to express their friendship and love for Israel and the Jewish people. But he was also a deeply spiritual man who was always looking for ways to bring people together.
One way he did this was through music. Most Christians don’t know this, but when my father was young, he was part of a very popular Jewish band that wrote music that the entire Jewish community enjoyed for years. As a father he was gentle, loving, and warm.
But even though my father was a peaceful man, when his beliefs were challenged, when people attacked what he knew to be true, my father would fight back — with words of course.
And in the course of stepping out into a relationship with Christians at a time when this was just not done in the Jewish community, my peace-loving father needed to be tough and to fight for what he knew was the will of God. He used to say that sometimes we need to fight in this world so that we can achieve a higher peace.
Fight for a Higher Peace
I believe that this is the deeper meaning of God’s blessing to Phinehas after he killed the Jewish prince and the Midianite woman who were sinning in public. We read in the Book of Numbers, “Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites. Since he was as zealous for my honor among them as I am, I did not put an end to them in my zeal. Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him” (25:11-12).
Most people would not look at what Phineas did as a peaceful act. But read these verses again. Phinehas fought back against behavior that was abhorrent to God. By fighting back against the forces of sinfulness, Phinehas appeased God and mended the breach in Israel’s relationship to God. In the words of the Jewish sages, “Phinehas brought peace between God and His people.”
All too often, people of faith avoid conflict in the name of peace. While this is often the best course of action, there are times when we are called upon to do battle for God, which ultimately brings peace between humanity and our Father in heaven.
How can you get involved in defending biblical values? Don’t be afraid to stand on your faith.