Good Morning, Brothers and Sister!
God’s has always been faithful to His people! And he always will be! He is the same God today who revealed himself in the pages of the scriptures. And so we know that he will always be faithful to us!
God is “Jehovah Shalom”, “The Lord is Peace”. This name of God is only found once in the Bible, in Judges 6:24. Let us read Judges 6:11-24 from the English Standard Version:
“Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites.And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.”And Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me.Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay till you return.” So Gideon went into his house and prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the terebinth and presented them. And the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And he did so. Then the angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.”But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.”
This is the Word of the Lord, let us pray.
This fascinating passage of scripture contains too many lessons for today’s brief devotion. So I am going to move through this text briefly.
This is the first experience Gideon has of the Lord which is recorded for us in the Bible. He was not a great man by human standards, but a man of weakness and fear. For he was trying to beat out wheat in his winepress! Normally one beats wheat on top of a hill where it is windy. One beats the wheat to separate the chaff from the grain, then uses a sheet to throw it in the air. The wind then blows away the chaff, leaving the grain behind. But Gideon, no doubt for fear of being seen by the Midianites, is trying to thresh his grain in the bottom of a winepress! What a funny picture that is! God has a sense of humor!
So when the angel addressed Gideon as a mighty warrior, Gideon did not feel like a mighty warrior! He felt like a coward! In essence, he tells the angel that he must have been mistaken. For Gideon was the least of his family, and his family the least of the people of Israel. Yet the angel commands Gideon to lead Israel in fighting the Midianites in his strength.
Gideon, more than a little doubtful that this could be God, required a sign. And the angel obliged. When the meal which Gideon prepared went up in flames and the angel disappeared, Gideon was afraid for his life. For he had seen the angel of the Lord! He knew that he was a man, and a sinner, and feared that God would strike him down. But God showed him grace, God showed him mercy! God assured him that he would not die! What sweet comfort that must have been to this man marked by inner doubts and fears!
And so Gideon built an altar to the Lord and worshipped him, calling him “Jehovah Shalom” “The Lord is Peace”.
Beloved, God does not change. The Lord was peace in Gideon’s day. And the Lord is Peace today! He offers to us his peace today in the same way that he offered peace to Gideon on that day. This is why Jesus came, not that we might feel the weight of our sins and shame and despair, not that we might know our frailty and live lives of fear, but that we might have peace with God!
Beloved, if you know Jesus, then you have the peace of God. For the Holy Spirit dwells in all the saints who are born again children of God. And the Holy Spirit is Jehovah Shalom, The Lord is Peace. So if Jehovah Shalom is in you, then you have peace with God.
But sometimes it does not feel like we have peace with God. Sometimes we feel too ashamed of ourselves to open up to the Lord, we fear his judgment and condemnation, so we try to act good and hide our sins and brokenness. We doubt that God would love us if he really knew what we were like. And sometimes we don’t even allow ourselves to consider how broken and ashamed we feel. Sometimes we fide from ourselves, projecting an image for ourselves and others of a saint when we know that we struggle with sin. If that is you today, then hear this, God is peace. When we open up our hearts to the Lord and let him work, he does not shame us, but washes away our guilt and shame. God longs to heal us, to reveal himself to us as our peace.
And if you have never known the peace of God, then you have never really experienced a true relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I invite you today to ask God, Jehovah Shalom, the Lord is Peace, to be your God and savior. Pray, talk to God, find a quiet place where you can ask God to save you and give you his peace.
Beloved, Gideon was introduced to Jehovah Shalom that day, but he struggled to believe and experience the peace of God throughout his life. Yet God used him and a handful of other men to deliver the Israelites from the Midianites. God does not require perfect faith of us. But if we will trust in him, he will give us his peace. My prayer for us today is that God will grant us all a deeper knowledge of him that we may experience his peace!
Let us pray!