Jehovah Shalom – The Lord Our Peace4 min read
Open your Bible and read Judges 6:11-24
In Judges 6:11-24, the story is told of Gideon’s call from God. Near his father’s house he was found threshing wheat to hide it from the Midianites, Israel’s enemy. Then the angel of the Lord appeared and sent Gideon to save Israel from Midian. He reinforced his command by saying, “Have I not sent thee?” But Gideon was not expecting to be the solution, and he replied, “I am the least…” While this was true, he needed to remember that his strength would be in the Lord. No more was it a matter of Gideon’s identity, but it was a matter of God’s unlimited power. Still somewhat unsure, he brought the Lord unleavened cakes, a kid goat, and an ephah of flour. After he poured out the broth of the goat, the Lord consumed them; and this showed him that the Lord truly would carry out His promise. Gideon suddenly realized that this was the Lord Himself and cried “Alas O Lord God! For because I have seen and angel of the Lord face to face.” But the Lord, instead of giving judgment, gave peace; and Gideon set up an altar called Jehovah-Shalom to remember and glorify God for His peace.
Today, we don’t remember peace with God by an altar, but instead we can look back in our minds and through the Lord’s Supper to remember by Whom we have peace. We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. No longer does the shadow of the cross loom over us as it shows a glimpse of the judgment we merited, but in grace it says “Set free!” We must certainly remember, for it is through Him alone we are redeemed. And through Him we can constantly remind ourselves what the Lord reminded Gideon, “Fear not, for you shall not die.”
And unto this day, the Lord is our peace. His sacrifice on the cross is not limited; and because of this truth, we can know that He has been, is, and always will be our peace. When we fail: the Lord is our peace. When the enemy surrounds us: the Lord is our peace. When we fall: the Lord is our peace. However, this peace demands an action from us. We must never expect peace (not peace with God, but within self) when we neglect God’s commands, for it is those that love His Law which have peace (Psalm 119:165). He is willing to give peace; are we willing to live in the good of it?
When the Lord came to Gideon, He found him working; he was busy threshing wheat to hide it from the Midianites. Gideon was not expecting the Lord to come, and no one was watching: yet he worked diligently. We who are saved have been told by our Saviour that He will come, and we must be watching. As we watch, do we work? When our Saviour comes to take His people for whom He died, will He find us working?
After the Lord appeared to Gideon, He said, “Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have I not sent thee?” But then Gideon responded, “How?… I am the least.” Yet the Lord said for him to go in his might, because the Lord is the Source of strength. Has the Lord not called us? Regardless of our weakness (which we all have), is it not His might we rest in? We are without excuse; we must go regardless of our infirmities. Is it difficult to read God’s Word? There is no excuse. Is it difficult to witness? There is no excuse.
Then the conversation ended; and Gideon realized that he was actually talking to the Most High. He was afraid, but the Lord said, “Peace be unto you. Fear not.” Those in the Old Testament had a completely different view of God than many today; they acknowledged His holiness (which is something we need more of today). So when we look forward to seeing His face and when we approach the Throne of Grace in prayer, the least we can do is show some fear and respect. Thankfully, He also grants us peace before His presence.
Finally, at the end of this event, Gideon erected an altar, even when he was surrounded by the enemy. He had peace in the midst of a cause for fear. In the same way, we are in the world which desires to eradicate Christ from the face of the earth. Yet the Lord is our peace. Let us not neglect visible worship because of the world, and let us not fear. Rather than fear, we must fulfill our calling. Has He not called us? Is He not our peace?