How strange it is to discover “the Lord is my peace” in an Old Testament book like Judges. The period of the judges in the Old Testament was nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. When God would raise up a new judge. (For example, read Judges 6) Israel would follow Him, but when that judge would die they would fall back into their old ways of serving foreign Gods. As a matter of fact this sin—salvation—sin cycle happens seven times throughout the book of Judges. The story of Gideon is just one remarkable story out of seven, but it is in this narrative that we are given a new characteristic and promise of God.
Judges chapter 5 tells us that Israel lived in rest for forty years under the leadership of Deborah, but once again they fell into sin after her death. In this instance God allowed the Midianites to come and raid the land of Israel. The Midianites would destroy all of their crops, livestock, and everything else that would contribute to their livelihood. It was during this time that the Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and told him that he would single-handedly defeat the Midianites.
Gideon was so frightened at the sight of the Angel of the Lord that he knew he was as good as dead, but the Angel said, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.” With that comfort Gideon built an altar and called the place Jehovah Shalom: The Lord is my Peace.
The Lord is My Peace
If I could sum up Gideon in two words it would be frightened and wimpy. After all when the Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon he was threshing wheat in his father’s winepress so the Midianites would not find it. Even after the revelation of Jehovah Shalom, Gideon was instructed to tear down his father’s Baal idol, but Gideon waited until dark so no one would see him do it. This guy lived in fear every day. How ironic that the Lord chose Gideon to reveal Himself has the God of Peace.
This tells me that God will always meet you where you are, but it also tells me that God’s ways are not our ways. 1 Corinthians 1:27 tells us that God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;…that no flesh should glory in His presence. I don’t know why God chose Gideon. It doesn’t make sense to my human logic. I don’t know why God would choose a scrawny, smelly kid like David to be a King. I don’t know why God would send His only Son to be the sacrifice for my sin. All I know is that His ways are far higher than mine.
God wants to give you peace in your situation. You may feel more turmoil in your life right now than ever before, but God wants to reveal Himself to you as Jehovah Shalom. You may be frightened and worried about the state of the economy. You live from day to day wondering if you or your spouse is going to get laid off from your job. But God wants to give you His peace.
This peace can only truly come to those who are willing to look upon the face of God. Gideon did not receive the peace of the Lord until He saw God face to face. The same concept applies to us, and the only way that we can come face to face with God is in worship.
The apostle Paul gives us a wonderful context for having peace.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9
In this passage Paul gives us four points of instruction that deal directly with prayer and worship:Rejoice in the Lord, pray, give thanks, and meditate. He goes on to say that if you do these things then you will position yourself to be surrounded by the peace of God.
The Old Testament defines the word peace as being a state of safety, health, prosperity, and favor. The New Testament defines it as being whole, or complete, secure, and prosperous.
It is definitely the Lord’s desire for you to live in peace. I find it interesting the Hebrew word for “hello” and “goodbye” is Shalom. If you have ever attended a Catholic mass, you will never leave without the priest declaring “Peace be to You”. The peace of God is a very powerful state of being because it is literally bringing Heaven to earth.
Paul also said in Philippians 4 that the peace of God is something that goes beyond our understanding. It is just like God to take something that goes against our logic and use if for good. Peace only comes from God. It does not come from the world. The world is full of hurt, confusion, and uncertainty. Peace does not come from man because man is full of sin, doubt, and faithlessness. But when God brings His peace it provides a protection from the things of the world and the things of man.
In the armor of God (Ephesians 6) peace is not worn over the heart nor over the head, but it is worn on the feet. That means that we have to take the peace of God with us everywhere we go. It is only discovering that “the Lord is my peace” that we can stand against doubt, confusion, and anxiety.
Today, no matter what state you find yourself in you can discover “the Lord is my peace” and let the peace of God rule in your hearts. (Colossians 3:15) Seek His face in worship because it is in the countenance of God that we find perfect peace.