Jehovah Shalom: The Lord Is Peace

Gideon is moving slowly, quietly. He’s trying desperately not to attract attention as he threshes wheat in the winepress. Though the job is difficult, he keeps going.

For seven years, his nation has been afflicted. Every time they plant crops or raise animals, an enemy nation comes and takes what’s theirs. Many people are on the verge of starvation.

Working as he did, he was probably terrified of being caught. He knew that not only would the little wheat be destroyed but he might also be killed.

As he works, a stranger greets him calling out, “…The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.” (Judges 6:12, KJV)

Like so many would in his situation, Gideon bypasses the name. He doesn’t think of himself as a warrior. He’s hiding out, trying to scrape together a living for his hungry family. In his mind, he’s no hero.

What he does focus on is the question he can’t stop thinking about. It springs immediately to his lips, “Why?”

It’s a question that haunts all of us at one point. Why did I have to be born to a drug-addicted mother? Why did my child have to suffer from a muscle disease? Why did my husband have to die in a car accident? Why did I have to make that stupid choice and end up here?

God doesn’t answer Gideon’s question. But He does appoint him. Sometimes in the middle of our whys, God gives us an assignment.

You were born to a drug-addicted mother…and now God calls you to foster kids who need the love of a good parent. You watch your child suffer from a muscle disease…and now God calls you to walk with other parents on the same journey.

Gideon is quick to point out why he’s not qualified for the assignment. It’s a normal, human reaction to a daunting task. It’s a common response to say, “Whoa, wait a second. You’ve got the wrong person here. I’m not special.”

But God reassures Gideon with one simple truth. It’s the same truth that’s He’s speaking over you right now…

I am with you.

“And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.” (Judges 6:16, KJV).

When the encounter has ended and Gideon is alone again, He calls God “Jehovah Shalom” or depending on the version your Bible renders, the name might be “Yahweh-Shalom”. They both mean the same thing, “The Lord Is Peace”.

“Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.” 

(Judges 6:24, KJV)

Gideon’s story stands as a powerful reminder that we can know peace in the middle of uncertainty. Nothing had been resolved when Gideon declared that the Lord was his peace. If anything, an overwhelming assignment lay ahead of him. He was still oppressed by his enemies. He was still hungry. He was still waiting to see deliverance.

But God was granting him peace.

It’s a gift that God longs to give every one of His children. It’s available to you right in this moment, in the middle of all your uncertainty and confusion and chaos.

God is your peace. This peace comes not from the belief that everything will work out perfectly but rather peace comes from an awareness of God’s presence. It’s the knowledge that in the middle of the battle, you haven’t been abandoned. God stands right beside you. He is with you and He is for you.

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