“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
We all lack peace from time to time. Fear and worry can creep up on us when we least expect it, leaving us awake at night. Maybe we think peace will descend upon us once we have no difficult relationships or financial worries. 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.
However, we can learn an important truth from a man named Gideon in the Bible. He discovered that we don’t create peace; we receive it from God. While peace is a pervasive topic in Scripture, the name Yahweh Shalom which means “The Lord is Peace” appears only once. God revealed Himself as peace to Gideon during the time of the judges. When the nation of Israel had been oppressed by the Midianites for 7 years, the Lord appeared to Gideon and called him a mighty warrior and told him to defeat the enemy.
This stressed poor Gideon out. He said he was from the least family of the smallest clan and expressed his inability to complete the task the Lord gave Him. He tested God but eventually realized that God wanted to use him to turn the people of Israel back to Yahweh. The Lord said this calm to Gideon’s fears, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die” (Judges 6:23, ESV). 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 when we believe that God says it will be all right.
We need to define what it means for “peace to be with us” or that “it will be all right.” God didn’t say –
- You will never be scared again. (Gideon showed fear just a few verses down in 6:27.)
- You will never need more confirmation (Gideon asked for another sign.)
- Everything will make sense. (Yahweh asked Gideon to cut his army down from 32,000 to 300.)
- You won’t have battles. (Gideon later fought the Midianites.)
Peace isn’t tied to circumstances. Gideon faced personal, family, and national distress. He encountered Yahweh Shalom in the middle of his stressors. He declared that God was peace before he experienced relief from the oppression of his enemies.
We can’t engineer peace through work, play, or even rest. Instead we receive it by trusting God and choosing to focus our thoughts on Him. (Isaiah 26:3) True peace can only be found through a relationship with God.
Dear Lord, help me to remember that You are Yahweh Shalom. Help me to stop trying to create peace in my life and instead run to You to receive it. You know all the things that are stressing me out Lord. Sometimes it seems overwhelming. Help me to trust You more so that I will obey You more. I don’t want to drift away from You like the people during the time of the judges. I believe that when I seek You, it will be all right.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Instead of trying to fix our circumstances, we should fix our minds on God. (Isaiah 26:3) It can help us receive the peace of God when life feels out of control. Take a moment to think about the some of the names and character qualities of God. Set a timer on your phone for one minute and think about who He is and ask Him to give you His peace.
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Melissa Spoelstra is a women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages know Christ more intimately through serious Bible study. She is the author of six women’s Bible studies including Romans: The Good News that Changes Everything. Find her online at www.melissaspoelstra.com.