Have you ever considered the difference between "giving" and "making"? We can say, "I give you this item", or we can say, "I will make you take this item". Each carries a totally different meaning. One implies an extension of one's self, the other the imposing of one's self on another. Yet, when we look at this in the terms of a great Creator "making" his people strong and "giving" his people peace, both words take on different meaning!
11 God makes his people strong. God gives his people peace.
(Psalm 29:11 The Message)
God "makes" his people strong - he brings about strength. It is in the arranging of the various elements of our lives that strength is understood. In the times of the most significant weakness on our part, he comes through with the arranging of all things in such a manner so as to produce the ability to stand in his strength. I was surprised to find the 45 definition outlined in Webster's dictionary when I explored this word. Yep, you saw it correctly - 45! Of all those definitions, a couple stuck out as describing how our God moves in our lives to produce strength:
- He causes himself to be understood - showing us he is as he claims! God's goal is for us to understand him - to trust his ability, listen to his authority, and to take comfort in his attention.
- He causes us to be "made" as he has specified - not how others would specify for us to act or behave in life. He has a purpose for each one of his creation, and he works overtime to bring us to the place of truly fulfilling our purpose.
- He causes us to move (to truly proceed) in the direction he has outlined for our lives. Try as we might, we can resist his direction, but we will never be happy outside of his defined leading.
God "gives" his people peace. Equally as surprising was the 41 definitions for the word "give"! Look at the differences in this passage. God "makes" us strong - because on our own, in our own capacity, strength is dependent on the circumstances, the limits of our own physical condition or mental ability. In his "making" us strong, he causes us to transcend our limitations! When God "gives" us peace, it is because peace is something we struggle with accomplishing simply because of our own inadequacies!
He makes us strong - in turn, he gives us peace. In the strength of our God, we experience the gift on his peace! He places in our lives peace which passes understanding - not so we will move without fear - but so we will rely on his leading. He "furnishes" us with peace - he "moves" us into his strength.
You may be in a spot today of needing strength - you will find it in allowing God to make himself understood in your life. You may long for peace - it is furnished at the hand of the one who holds both the present and the future in his hands. Stand strong and enjoy the peace!