Jehovah Shalom, The Lord is Peace, is an attribute of God which was first revealed to His people during a time when there was no peace. The nation of Israel was experiencing poverty and hardship, they were constantly being attacked by their enemies. The people were fearful and living in hiding as they had no peace to go about their daily lives. Then Gideon receives the revelation that God is intentional towards His people, that He is for them and not against them. God desires reconciliation and He alone is their source of peace.
What does Jehovah Shalom Mean?
The Hebrew word ‘shalom’ is translated into ‘peace’ in English but it means far more than our understanding of ‘peace.’
Definition of Peace: Freedom from war and violence, especially when people live and work together happily without disagreements. (Cambridge Dictionary.)
The Hebrew word goes far deeper, because it is based on living in harmony with God, freed from fear, in the security of God. When our lives are lived in relationship with God, with faith and trust in Him, we are made whole and know a true inner well-being and ‘peace’ .
True peace, the inner well-being, comes when our broken relationship with God is restored. We can receive this promise now in and through Christ Jesus. But complete fulfilment of the knowledge and experience of Jehovah Shalom is still to come in the Messianic age when Jesus returns to rule and reign.
As we look at the background to the revelation of this Name of God, we begin to understand a little more of the depth of meaning of ‘Jehovah Shalom’.
Jehovah Shalom Bible Verse
Judges 6 Summary 1-24
At the beginning of Judges chapter six, we find the nation of Israel in a sorry state. They have been corrupted by the nations around them and turned away from God to worship idols. They are being oppressed and attacked by the Midianites, their crops are being destroyed, and there is a shortage of food.
The Israelites are living in fear and often hiding in caves or staying within the mountain strongholds as they desperately look for a place of safety. In their time of need Israel begins to cry out to God for help. He sends them a prophet with a clear message that they are being so oppressed because they have not listened to God or lived in obedience to Him. There is no indication in the story that the people respond in any way to the prophet’s message.
Then God intervenes directly. Gideon is threshing wheat – the little that he has – hidden in a winepress, out of sight of the enemy. An angel appears to him with a greeting “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” Gideon does not view himself as a mighty warrior but as the least in his family, and his family as being the least important in the tribe.
Gideon is bold in his conversation with the angel and shares his feelings of abandonment by God. The angel does not respond to Gideon’s comments because God had already provided the answer through His prophet as to why they were in such trouble. Instead the angel delivers a commission to Gideon:
Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?Judges 6:14
Gideon asks for a sign to confirm his commission by God and goes to prepare an offering. He returns bringing meat, broth in a pot, and some unleavened bread. The angel of the Lord is still sitting waiting in the shade of an oak tree and instructs Gideon to place the meat and bread on a nearby rock and to pour out the broth. Gideon obeys and as he does so the angel reaches out and touches the offering with the tip of the staff which was in his hand. Fire flares from the rock and consume the offering, showing that it was accepted by God, and then the angel disappears.
Gideon’s response is not reassurance from the sign he has just seen but rather horror as he realises he has seen the angel of the Lord face to face!
But the LORD said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.Judges 6:23
Jehovah Shalom Scripture
Gideon receives the assurance of these words and builds an altar dedicating it to the Lord with the title The-Lord-is-Peace – which in Hebrew is ‘Jehovah Shalom’.
So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace.Judges 6:24
God had spared Gideon’s life, his offering had been accepted, and he was commissioned to go and be the mighty warrior that God declared him to be. That very night he would, at God’s command, begin to fight the apostasy of the Israelites starting within his own family. Then having contended with idolatory within, he would begin his commission to tackle the enemy without.
The LORD is With You Mighty Warrior
God chooses those who are willing to respond, who will not depend on themselves, but who will rely on Him. There is nothing to suggest that Gideon is a mighty warrior at the beginning of the story, in fact everything points to the opposite, and yet this is how the angel of the Lord addresses him. Gideon is exactly the right person for this task, as God wants Israel to know that it is not by their might or power that the enemy will be defeated but by the Spirit of God.
God alone has the power to create something out of nothing. He is the One ‘who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that are not.’ God gave Isaac to Abraham and Sarah when they were ‘good as dead’, long past the age of childbearing. God sent Jesus into this world, to give His life for us ‘while we were dead in our transgressions and sins.’ He is able to bring full and abundant life where there appears to be no hope of life, and success when the task seems to be impossible.
Often we look at the external, assessing potential by personality and performance, but God examines the heart. He often chooses the overlooked and the ignored for His kingdom work, those who have been broken and damaged by life, who are humble and not proud. What qualifies us for God’s kingdom service is a willingness to go in the strength that we have, with complete dependency on Him.
What was God’s promise to Gideon?
Simply, the profound truth that God was with Him. God was reconciling His people to Himself and revealing that He alone is the source of true peace.
Gideon is a witness to us of someone who was willing, but who knew that he needed to rely and depend on God. He sought confirmation through signs, which God graciously gave Him, so that He would have peace of mind. Gideon needed peace within, reconciled to God and trusting in His Sovereignty, to go and contend for peace without. He could go in the strength that he had, and the mission to save Israel, by defeating the Midianites, would be a success – because God was with him.
Related post : Peace of mind in daily life.
Names of God – Jehovah Shalom
To fully grasp this title of God, we have to know why and where God first revealed this aspect of His character. Gideon feared that in the Holy presence of God he would be destroyed. But his encounter with the angel of the Lord was instigated by God who was responding to the cry of His people.
God is not far from any one of us and He is the instigator of our relationship with Him. He responds to our need, the cry of our hearts, and we grow in knowledge and love for God because He first loved us!
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.1 John 4:10
‘Jehovah Shalom The Lord is Peace’ is the instigator of our relationship with Him.Tweet
The story of Gideon highlights that to know Jehovah Shalom is to know the sense of inner well-being that comes from being reconciled to God. When we have the assurance that God is with us, and for us, and His intention towards us is peace we live securely in the knowledge of His love. ‘Jehovah Shalom’ is the revelation of God’s unmerited favour, and His blessing to us!
……Grace and peace to you from God, our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.Romans 1:7
You may also like to read Jehovah Nissi– The Lord is our Banner.