‘So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.’ – Judges 6.24From Sam Lomas:
I have always been fascinated by the way God chose to reveal His character throughout the Old Testament. In particular, the way that He is given different names which help us to understand His character.
One of the names of God we find in the Old Testament is ‘Yahweh-Shalom (which means the “Lord is Peace”)’. The name is first revealed to us towards the beginning of Gideon’s story. The story is set in a time when God’s people (Israel) had no king and as a result they did whatever they wanted. They were in a cycle of sin whereby they would turn away from the Lord; be over-run by opposing nations; and then be rescued by a Judge (a warrior of some sort) who the Lord would raise up. In chapter 6 of Judges we find the story of Gideon. (Why not give it a read now?)
The impression which we are given of Gideon is that he is an anxious, low in confidence, very afraid boy. Gideon encounters an Angel of the Lord (God’s representative) at a time when the Midianites had driven the Israelites into hiding out of fear. The Angel of the Lord gives Gideon the task of rescuing Israel from the oppressive Midianites. However, Gideon’s response highlights his lack of confidence when he says, “My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” (Judges 6.15) Gideon is not exactly the pick of the bunch. In fact, Gideon is so uncertain that the Lord is with Him that he requests a sign that the Lord is really there.
Once Gideon was left without any doubt that he was in fact speaking to the Lord, he was terrified and thought that he would die. But the Lord responded, instructing Gideon, “Do not be afraid. You will not die”. At once, Gideon built an altar calling it, ‘Yahweh-Shalom (which means the “Lord is Peace”)’.
The story goes on and we see how Gideon leads an army of just 300 men to defeat the vast Midianite army. Gideon’s weakness
’, fear and anxiety are all diminished by the peaceful presence of the Lord.
I think that the story of Gideon helps us to understand that a key attribute of God’s character is peace. In fact, the story of Gideon shows us that in the midst of any fear, anxiety, lack of confidence or overwhelming odds you might face, you can know peace through the presence of the Lord in your life. I wonder whether today you need to know Yahweh-Shalom (The Lord is Peace)?
Perhaps say a prayer now asking the Lord to be present with you through His Holy Spirit that you might know peace today in whatever circumstances you face. The Lord’s presence in your life brings peace. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)