The prophets in Jerusalem were promising “shalom” to the people. But Jeremiah knew that wasn’t going to be the case. The problem wasn’t that “peace” was being promised, that was indeed what God had promised to His covenant keeping 10 peacepeople. The national leaders promised a political and social peace as well as national peace with the nations around them. Jeremiah knew that was not going to happen because there can be no true peace in any way outside of the covenant connection with God. Jeremiah is astounded that God has allowed the false prophets to declare such lies and puts his complaint to God in Jeremiah 4:10. He says, “Ah, Lord GOD, surely you have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘It shall be well with you,’ whereas the sword has reached their very life.” The phrase “well with you” is literally “shalom” in the Hebrew Bible.

Mackay says, “‘Peace’ undoubtedly implied absence of warfare, which is always a major blessing (see on 23:17), but the term stretched beyond exemption from the turmoil caused by foreign aggression. It denoted personal well-being and economic prosperity along with the concomitant feelings of satisfaction and contentment. Peace was indeed what the Lord aimed to provide for his people as part of the prosperity associated with the blessings of the covenant (see on 2:7), because he ‘delights in the well-being (šālôm) of his servant’ (Ps. 35:27). ‘Covenant of peace’ would be used to describe the total restoration the Lord would provide for his people (Ezek. 34:25; 37:26).”[1]

I’m sure you’ve seen “No God = No Peace,” and its counterpart, “Know God = Know Peace.” The scriptures are filled with the promises of “shalom” for those who can rest in God’s loving hands. He’s in control and we can trust Him! Isaiah 26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” John 14:27 again says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Then in Philippians 4:7 we read what will be the result for those who commit their lives to God and rest in Him. It says, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

[1] John L. Mackay, Jeremiah: An Introduction and Commentary: Chapters 1–20, vol. 1, Mentor Commentaries (Fearn, Ross-shire, Scotland: Mentor, 2004), 219.