The Lord will give us peace - 22 June 2020

Ben Fourie

Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and named it ‘The LORD is Peace’. (It is still standing at Ophrah, which belongs to the clan of Abiezer.)  Judges 6:24 (GNB)

The only Hebrew word that many of us know is the word “shalom” – peace to you. We use it as a greeting or to convey good wishes for the way ahead. Shalom is actually much more than just a greeting, more than can be conveyed by the word “peace” as we use it. The word “shalom” is found many times in the Bible and the context in which it is used varies, but interestingly, it is used only once in this context in Judges: Yahweh Shalom  - The LORD is Peace.

The Angel of the Lord came to Gideon to call him as a judge to lead the campaign in the ongoing war with the Midianites who were wreaking havoc in Israel. Gideon did not recognise the Angel, and in verse 13 asked the question we sometimes still ask today: “If I may ask. sir, why has all this happened to us if the LORD is with us? What about all the wonderful things that our fathers told us the LORD used to do - how he brought them out of Egypt? The LORD has abandoned us …” The Lord, because that is who it was, did not try to give Gideon an answer, but instead gave him the command to go and do something about the problem. In doing so, Gideon would not be alone for in verse 16 He said: “You can do it because I will help you.”

Gideon made a sacrifice on the rock, and when fire came from the rock and devoured the sacrifice, he realised it was the Lord, and was afraid of dying, but the Lord said to him: “Peace. Don’t be afraid. You will not die.”

Then Gideon built an altar which he named, “The LORD is Peace,” meaning he was not afraid anymore. When God promises peace it is not necessarily that there will be no struggle, but rather that we do not have to be afraid during any struggle. He will give us peace by being present and will give us the ability to overcome all difficulties.

Prayer: We confess our fears before you. Like Gideon, we have questions that make us anxious and, sometimes, we feel abandoned. We thank you that we can rest assured that you will never abandon us, and will give us peace.  Amen

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