Over the next few weeks I am posting excerpts from my new book, Your Destiny, His Glory! Hope you enjoy and order a copy soon! Just click on the title to order
Jehovah-Shalom, God is Peace! All the definitions of peace in our dictionary begin with “free from….” Free from disturbance, free from war, free from stress and anxiety, and free from trouble.
Shalom, God’s peace, is much more than just being free from chaos. The Hebrew word means full restoration to God’s original intent. It is not simply a lack of disturbance, but it is to be put back in order by being filled to overflowing with His comfort, prosperity, and restitution. Nothing missing. Nothing broken.
The compound name of Jehovah-Shalom was given to Gideon in Judges 6. The pivotal question for Gideon was “Can I trust You when there is no evidence of Your presence?”
At this time in Israel’s history, their disobedience had opened the door for the Midianites, the Amalekites, and the people of the East to traumatize the nation. The Midianites formed a coalition with the Amalekites and other eastern peoples. The Midianites were descendants of Midian, a son of Abraham and Keturah after Sarah’s death. Abraham had given them gifts, but no inheritance. The Amalekites descended from Esau’s grandson, Amalek. These enemies were after more than the grain; they were coming to get what they deemed as their inheritance.
These enemies had established a pattern. Each year for seven years, they had withdrawn their armies so the Israelites could plow and plant their fields. At harvest, they would return with their hordes to steal the ripened grain. The Israelites worked hard throughout the planting season but were never allowed the joy and celebration of harvest. They experienced plowing and planting but not harvesting. After seven years, this was getting a little old. The Israelites were hiding in holes and caves just to survive. It was quite evident to everyone that Jehovah had forsaken them. There was no evidence anywhere that He still heard their prayers.
Our story begins with Gideon being visited by the Angel of the Lord as he hid in a wine press. The Angel showed up and declared, “Hello, mighty man of valor!” Shocked, Gideon looked around to discover a stranger standing there speaking to him.
Suppose the conversation went like this:
Angel: “Hey, big guy, mighty warrior, great man of courage, I’ve got a message for you. You can stop hiding, because the Midianites won’t be getting your grain this year.”
Gideon: “What? Who are you talking to? They come every year. We’ve cried out to our God, but obviously He isn’t listening. So why should this year be any different?”
Angel: “Well, it will be different because you, fierce fighting machine, are going to defeat them and run them off.”
Gideon: “Give me a break! I’m from the smallest tribe and the smallest family in Israel. And if I were such a warrior as you seem to think, why would I be hiding in this wine press hole trying to thresh my wheat?”
Angel: “Well, you see, Gideon, I’m a messenger from Jehovah. He has heard your cry and sent me to tell you that you are the man He has chosen for the job. But you don’t have to do it alone. Actually, He’s going to do the fighting for you, but He’s looking for a partner, and you are the man! You’re the one He has chosen.”
Gideon: “But I didn’t apply for that job. In fact, how do I know you aren’t just some crazy guy trying to trick me? Can you do something supernatural so I’ll know it’s you?”
Angel: “Sure, be glad to. Bring me some meat and unleavened bread and put it on this rock.”
Gideon did it, and the Angel touched it with his staff and boom! It burned up! And the angel disappeared.
Gideon: “Great. Now I’ve done it. Now I’m gonna die.”
Gideon knew the stories about what happens when you see God’s face. You die.
Believing it’s all over, he says, “Man! What was I thinking? And what was that all about anyway?”
Then the voice of the Lord God Jehovah speaks, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.”
So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it Jehovah-Shalom, The Lord Is Peace.
Shalom. Peace. Jehovah, the Self-existent One, the mighty Sovereign Ruler of the Universe has spoken His Shalom, His full restoration, and all things are put back in order. The God of all comfort would comfort Israel.
The name, Jehovah-Shalom, was given before Gideon’s mighty feat of tearing down the Baal altar or leading the army. Representing more than just taking care of Israel’s enemies, this name spoke volumes to Gideon. It gave him courage to become who Jehovah saw him to be and gave him the faith to go to battle with only 300 men, flash lights, and clay jars. When there was no evidence of His presence, Jehovah-Shalom spoke, and everything shifted. There was full restoration. Nothing missing. Nothing broken.
In the life of the Exhorter, there are times when Jehovah-Shalom withdraws His tangible presence, leaving no evidence that He is on the scene. Friends, who the Exhorter has relied on walk away and he finds himself in a desert, prison, wine press, or cave. Just as Moses was pulled away from the adoring crowds of Egypt, so the Exhorter is left with nothing and no one to validate that God is still there. Can you trust God’s character when you cannot see His face?
During this time, as the Exhorter grasps the significance of his circumstance, he has the opportunity to go vertical with the Lord. Delving deep into the aspects of His character, he begins to see who God really is and His faithfulness. When a covenant-keeping God says, “I will never leave you,” He means it. In this place God reveals the blessing of His face to him.
Aaron’s blessing states in Numbers 6:24-26, “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” Jehovah-Shalom.
When all is devastation around the Exhorter, if he can remember his time in the desert and the character of Jehovah-Shalom, he can make it through the dark times. God’s name brings the assurance that His face will surely shine upon him once again. As a covenant-keeping God, He has given his covenant blessing of Shalom, full restoration and full restitution. He has given His covenant word, “I will never leave nor forsake you.” Therefore, when all is dark, and there is no evidence He is present, the Exhorter can stand on His unchanging character and believe His word. His face will shine upon you.