Jehovah Shalom

By Russell Henderson, Contributing Writer
July 16, 2013

Read more from Russell Henderson
The Lord is My Peace

Read Judges 6

The period of the judges in the Old Testament was nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. When God would raise up a new judge Israel would follow Him, but when that judge would die they would fall back into their old ways of serving foreign Gods. As a matter of fact this sin—salvation—sin cycle happens seven times throughout the book of Judges. The story of Gideon is just one remarkable story out of seven, but it is in this narrative that we are given a new characteristic and promise of God.

Judges chapter 5 tells us that Israel lived in rest for forty years under the leadership of Deborah, but once again they fell into sin after her death. In this instance God allowed the Midianites to come and raid the land of Israel. The Midianites would destroy all of their crops, livestock, and everything else that would contribute to their livelihood. It was during this time that the Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and told him that he would single-handedly defeat the Midianites.

Gideon was so frightened at the sight of the Angel of the Lord that he knew he was as good as dead, but the Angel said, "Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die." With that comfort Gideon built an altar and called the place "Jehovah Shalom: The Lord is my Peace".

If I could sum up Gideon in two words it would be frightened and wimpy. After all when the Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon he was threshing wheat in his father's winepress so the Midianites would not find it. Even after the revelation of Jehovah Shalom, Gideon was instructed to tear down his father's Baal idol, but Gideon waited until dark so no one would see him do it. This guy lived in fear every day. How ironic that the Lord chose Gideon to reveal Himself has the God of Peace.

This tells me that God will always meet you where you are, but it also tells me that God's ways are not our ways. 1 Corinthians 1:27 tells us that God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;...that no flesh should glory in His presence. I don't know why God chose Gideon. It doesn't make sense to my human logic. I don't know why God would choose a scrawny, smelly kid like David to be a King. I don't know why God would send His only Son to be the sacrifice for my sin. All I know is that His ways are far higher than mine.

God wants to give you peace in your situation. You may feel more turmoil in your life right now than ever before, but God wants to reveal Himself to you as Jehovah Shalom. You may be frightened and worried about the state of the economy. You live from day to day wondering if you or your spouse is going to get laid off from your job. But God wants to give you His peace.

This peace can only truly come to those who are willing to look upon the face of God. Gideon did not receive the peace of the Lord until He saw God face to face. The same concept applies to us, and the only way that we can come face to face with God is in worship.

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