“It is all right,” the Lord replied. “Do not be afraid. You will not die.” And Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and named it Yahweh-Shalom (which means “the Lord is peace”). The altar remains in Ophrah in the land of the clan of Abiezer to this day.
(Judges 6:23-24, NLT)
Friend to Friend
Life can be so stressful. The American Psychological Institute reports that 77 percent of Americans say that they regularly experience physical symptoms from stress. The top four symptoms they reported were fatigue, headache, upset stomach, and muscle tension. Psychological symptoms of stress were also reported, including feeling irritable, angry, nervous, lack of energy, and as though you could cry.
I know I can relate to many of those symptoms! How about you? I wonder if you have encountered some stressors already in this new year. We all lack peace from time to time. Fear and worry can creep in when we least expect them, leaving us awake at night. Maybe we think peace will descend upon us once our relational problems or financial worries are resolved. Other times we may think peace will come through having the right leaders in our government, job, or church. Our culture often hints that we need to create peace in our lives with a better time-management plan, more self-esteem, or an escape to a tropical island.
Yet God reveals Himself to us in the Bible as Yahweh Shalom, The Lord is Peace. Because of this truth, we don’t create peace; we receive it from God. We can’t engineer peace through work, play, or even rest. True peace can be found only through a relationship with God. The Hebrew word Shalom means “completeness, soundness, welfare, peace.” Yahweh is the Self-Existent One whose name is I AM. Through this name He is saying:
I AM peace.
This peace isn’t a quick fix to temporal problems but a wholeness of mind, body, and soul in the midst of challenges. While peace is a pervasive topic in Scripture, the name Yahweh Shalom appears only once, and we find this mention in the Book of Judges. God revealed Himself as peace to a man named Gideon during the time of the judges.
An army of Midianites threatened God’s people, and the Lord appeared to Gideon with a message of hope in troubled times. He called Gideon to lead the people of Israel, but Gideon wasn’t sure he was the man for the job. He asked God for a sign of confirmation. I’ve had many times when I wasn’t sure whether God was calling me to do something or it was my own imagination. I’m glad that God didn’t shame Gideon for needing some confirmation.
God revealed His name Yahweh Shalom as the God of peace in the time Gideon most needed assurances of peace. Many English versions translate the beginning of Judges 6:23 with the word “peace.” The New Living Translation puts it this way: “It is all right.” God reminded Gideon that not only was He with Gideon, He was for him. Yahweh Shalom wants us to know that as well. He is not just with us, He is for us. Shalom isn’t something we create. We receive it by faith.
Yahweh Shalom offers us true peace that embodies health and wholeness. This shalom can fill us with an inner calm even when problems abound. God knows our tendency toward fear, worry, and stress, and He wants to calm our hearts and minds. He says that if we put our trust in Him, it will be all right.
Yahweh Shalom, You are my peace. Help me not to look for peace in the wrong places. I need Your presence and power for all that I have going on right now. Thank you for reminding me that with You – It will be all right. Even if my circumstances don’t change, give me Your peace in the midst of them.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Here are some questions to consider in your own struggles with peace. When you feel stress, where do you usually turn for relief? What is one practical way you can turn toward God today since He is our peace?
More from the Girlfriends
Check out Melissa’s Bible study titled The Names of God for an in-depth study of Yahweh Shalom and many other names of God. https://amzn.to/2DruRmI
© 2021 by Melissa Spoelstra. All rights reserved.