Jehovah Shalom

gideonRecently I have been reading a great book that I would like to recommend, Lord of the Impossible. One of the chapters in the book talks about Gideon and amazingly in the Book of Judges the Lord revealed Himself to Gideon as Jehovah Shalom.

The background of the story of Gideon is quite unique. For in Judges 6 it speaks of how the children of Israel had done evil in the sight of the Lord by building altars to Baal and setting up idols. The Lord punished Israel by sending the Midianite’s to prevail against them for 7 years. What is interesting is that the name Midian actually means “to strive”. So because the Israelites strived against the mightiness of God and provoked Him to anger by creating their own idolic worship, the Lord then handed them over to a people who represented the very essence of striving. What is also interesting is that what Israel would sow for harvest, the Midianite’s would come up and destroy all the produce causing Israel to be impoverished. The consequences of creating worship that does not give glory to Jesus produces strife, fear, poverty and destruction.

But then the children of Israel cried out to the Lord and the Lord heard them and He sent a prophet in their midst to let them know of the mighty acts He performed in the delivering of Israel out of bondage throughout history. He encouraged the Israelites by telling them not to fear, but yet also revealed their sin, “but you have not obeyed My voice”. Judges 6:10

So obviously there are consequences to our sin and disobedience, right? And those consequences could come in this lifetime or be eternal consequences.

But the Lord’s lovingkindness and graciousness poured out once again upon the children of Israel. So not only did he raise up a prophet in their midst to speak of the disobedience that Israel had done in the sight of the Lord, but also He raised up a man to once again deliver Israel from their oppressor and bring restoration to the land…and that man was Gideon.

Gideon was just an ordinary man, like you and me–in fact he too was so fearful of the Midianites that he threshed the wheat in the winepress, not the threshing floor, to hide it from the Midianites.

Judges 6:11-12
12 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” NKJV

The Septuagint Version of this verse says, “The Lord is with you, even the Lord in valor.” or “The Lord is with you, the mighty Man of Valor.” Ogilvie suggests, Yahweh, not Gideon, is mighty in valor. The divine visitation was to remind Gideon of the greatness of God.

And yet a complaint mixed with unbelief comes from the lips of Gideon in verse 13…

Judges 6:13 Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” NKJV

There is no confession of apostasy or seeking what Gideon and Israel may of done to bring about their own calamity and destruction. Isn’t it interesting how we often do the same–we blame God for our terrible circumstances rather than looking inward and crying out to God to reveal what we did wrong in His sight. But instead we test Him and think that He has forsaken us when all along He desires to pour out upon us in numerous measures His goodness and peace if we would only hear Him, obey Him, worship Him and serve Him. But instead we seek the counsel of the world, we worship the world and serve the things in the world that only bring harm to our souls in the end. So I ask why do we so often challenge the Lord to be accountable to us? For it only shows how far from fellowship we have drifted from Him.

And yet, the goodness of God endures forever–He looked with compassion upon Gideon and saw beyond his complaints–the Lord saw the faithful man that Gideon would become.

In the natural, Giedon was a man who lacked courage, he even states that his clan is the weakest in Manasseh and that he was the least in his father’s house. He certainly was filled with unbelief and self-doubt. And yet the Lord called him and said that in his strength, he would deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Judges 6:14 And yet still, Gideon asks for a sign. He wanted to know for certain that the Lord was in fact speaking to him.

Judges 6:17-21 Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me.18 Do not depart from here, I pray, until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You.”

And He said, “I will wait until you come back.”

19 So Gideon went in and prepared a young goat, and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot; and he brought them out to Him under the terebinth tree and presented them.20 The Angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so. 21 Then the Angel of the LORD put out the end of the staff that was in His hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. And the Angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.
NKJV

Suddenly Gideon knew the Lord was in his midst and feared greatly of this face-to-face visitation. It seems a light-bulb went on in his heart…no more unbelief at that moment. And the graciousness of God poured out even more upon Gideon. For He revealed a portion of His character to Gideon–His peace as He spoke…Then the LORD said to him,”Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.”24 So Gideon built an altar there to the LORD, and called it The-LORD-Is-Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. Judges 6:23-24

The memorial of this vision which Gideon set up was a monument in form of an altar, the rather because it was by a kind of sacrifice upon a rock, without the solemnity of an altar, that the angel manifested his acceptance of him; then an altar was unnecessary (the angel’s staff was sufficient to sanctify the gift without an altar), but now it was of use to preserve the remembrance of the vision, which was done by the name Gideon gave to this memorial, Jehovah-shalom (v. 24) – The Lord peace. This is,

(1.) The title of the Lord that spoke to him. Compare Genesis 16:13. The same that is the Lord our righteousness is our peace (Ephesians 2:14), our reconciler and so our Saviour. Or,

(2.) The substance of what he said to him: “The Lord spoke peace, and created that fruit of the lips, bade me be easy when I was in that agitation.” Or,

(3.) A prayer grounded upon what he had said, so the margin understands it: The Lord send peace, that is, rest from the present trouble, for still the public welfare lay nearest his heart.
(from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Not only did Gideon know the abounding Peace of God at that moment, but he was now at Peace with God.

shalom java friends,
amy

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