"They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven . . ."
(1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10a)
The word "shalom" in the Hebrew has many meanings which indicate restoration, renewal, friendship, peace, safety and so on. At one time, God placed his creation in a perfect garden--a place of safety, security, provision and peace--and we disobeyed God, losing 1) our relationship with God and 2) paradise.
Since that time, we've attempted to bring back both of these losses in our own way. Religion is our attempt to gain back our relationship with God, and politics is our attempt to gain back paradise.
The solution to both of these losses is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet the world refuses to believe the good news! Instead they try to attain the restoration--the shalom--in their own way through their own effort.
I believe that the kingdom of God is restored in the hearts of men as they receive Christ's finished work, but the kingdom of God doesn't come physically to earth until Christ comes.
Any effort to bring about the promise ahead of time in our own strength is akin to Abraham going to Hagar for fulfillment of the promise instead of waiting with Sarah for the birth of the promised child through whom the nations of the earth would be blessed.
The evangelical church is rushing en masse to bring about shalom through their own effort, power, and influence. Men like Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Jim Wallis, and Donald Miller are losing their faith in the promise of Christ that he would prepare a place for them and they're attempting to restore paradise now.
I want to let it be known that I'm WAITING for shalom. I won't be a part of their dream. They are moving ahead of God rather than waiting on God and they will create another Ishmael as a result.