Sunday, January 21, 2018

Jehovah Shalom

November 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

What situation in this season of your life threatens your peace? My guess is that your answers would be as varied and as numerous as the sand on the seashore if we could sit down over a cup of coffee and chat. Financial difficulties, marital problems, children who have strayed, work issues, an upcoming doctor’s appointment, the death of a loved one, a home that needs to sell but won’t because of the economy, relationship problems, national security, terrorists, drunk drivers. The list could go on and on and on. How in the world do we find peace in a world that has a severe lack of it?

I believe we find the key in the story of Gideon in the 6th chapter of the book of Judges. When the heavenly spotlight shines on Gideon we find he and the Israelites in a major mess. Because of their own rebellion and sin, God has allowed them to be overtaken and oppressed by the Midianites. So horrible was the situation that the Israelites were living in caves and dens in the mountains. The Midianites had overtaken the Israelites in the Promised Land. Did you get that? God’s chosen people were in the Promised Land, yet they were living in caves in the mountain because of their sin. Their land and their livestock had been looted by the enemy and they cried out to God for deliverance.

The angel of the Lord visits Gideon and tells him that he, Gideon, would be the instrument that God uses to deliver the Hebrew nation from their tormentors. Gideon looks at the angel and says something like, “Who, me?”

The angel says, “Yes, you.”

Gideon begins to give the angel the ‘why, how, and if’ speech. “Why is all this happening to us? How can I save Israel? If I am really the one, show me a sign.” The angel of the Lord showed remarkable patience with Gideon, if you ask me. He allowed Gideon to go prepare a meal and bring it back as an offering to the Lord. The angel touched the food with his staff and the food was consumed by fire. Gideon knew immediately that he was in the presence of the Lord.

In Judges 6: 23-24 we find these words, “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.’ So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it The-Lord-Is-Peace (Jehovah shalom).” (emphasis mine)

Gideon built an altar and called it The-Lord-Is-Peace. Had Gideon’s circumstances changed? Had Israel’s oppression ended? Did Gideon have special insight into his future as a deliverer of Israel? No, nothing in the external world had changed. Israel was still oppressed by Midian. Gideon was still the least in his father’s household and his clan was still the least in Manasseh. He had no idea what the next day or the next hour would hold.

What had changed was Gideon’s view of God, and with that change came internal peace. Prior to the angel’s visit Gideon was focused on the circumstances of Israel and his own family. Once Gideon’s focus was re-directed by the angel onto the God of Israel, Jehovah shalom, Gideon was able to walk out his calling with peace in his heart.

So, I ask you again. What situation in your life threatens your peace? If your focus is on that situation, then your peace is probably in jeopardy. But if you re-direct your focus to the God of Israel, the God who commands the winds and the waves(Luke 8: 25), the God who sits enthroned above the earth(Isaiah 40:22), the God who knows the way to the dwelling of light (Job 38: 19), the God with whom the lightning checks in before it goes out(Job 38: 35), the God who collects your tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8)–then your focus is on Jehovah shalom and you can have peace in the midst of your situation.

Leah describes herself as the “prodigal son’s sister” after spending several years walking far from the Lord in her twenties. Helping others understand the grace that is offered by Jesus to anyone who will accept it is the passion of Leah’s heart. In a works-based and failure-prone society, grace is a concept that many people have difficulty grasping and Leah’s speaking and writing ministry, called The Point Ministries, seeks to point others straight to Jesus and his amazing grace.

An anointed speaker and communicator, Leah lives in Blairsville, Georgia with her husband, Greg. She holds a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree from Mercer University School of Pharmacy. Leah is a CLASS certified speaker and is the author of a new Bible study entitled From the Trash Pile to the Treasure Chest: Creating a Godly Legacy.

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