February 29, 2016

Judges 6:21-24

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

Judges 6:24 is the only reference in the Bible for Jehovah-ShalomThe LORD is Peace.  Judges 6:11 through 8:32 is the story of Gideon.  The Midianites were enemies of Israel, yet related to them through the son of that name, born to Abraham of Katurah, his concubine (see Genesis 25:1, 2).  The tribe of Midian lived to the south of Palestine in Arabia, east of the Gulf of Aqaba.  In Judges 6:1 it says that in Gideon’s day that they ruled over Israel for seven years.

God called Gideon to fight the Midianites and deliver Israel from their dominion.  But Gideon needed confirmation.  So he tested God twice by putting out the fleece of a sheep (see Judges 6:36-40).  But before the fleece, when God first called him by sending “…the Angel of the LORD…to him…” (Judges 6:12), Gideon wanted proof that the call was from God.  He told the Angel in Judges 6:17, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me.”  Then Gideon went and prepared a goat with unleavened bread for an offering.  Here are the featured verses, Judges 6:21 through 24 9 (English Standard Version):

      Then the Angel of the LORD reached out the tip of the staff that was
      in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes.  And fire
      sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened
      cakes.  And the Angel of the LORD vanished from his sight.  Then Gid-
      eon perceived that He was the Angel of the LORD.  And Gideon said,
      “Alas, O Lord GOD!  For now I have seen the Angel of the LORD face
      to face.”  But the LORD said to him, “Peace be to you.  Do not fear;
      you shall not die.”  Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and
      called it, The LORD Is Peace [Jehovah-Shalom].

It seems Gideon was familiar with Moses’ writings.  For Moses had recorded in Exodus 33:20 what God told him when he had requested of Lord “Please, show me Your glory.” (Exodus 33:18).  God said, “You cannot see my face; for no man shall see Me, and live.”  Gideon was afraid he would die for having seen the Angel of the LORD face to face!  Many Bible scholars identify the Angel of the LORD with the pre-incarnate Christ!  When God assured him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die…,” Gideon honored God by building an altar “…and called it, The LORD Is Peace [Jehovah-Shalom].

In the Old Testament we find the word peace 318 times!  Ten times in the gospels it is recorded that Jesus told people to be at peace!  Forty-seven times Paul wrote of peace!  Fifteen times in the general epistles peace is mentioned!  Twice we see the word peace in Revelation!  Peace must be an important concept in the Bible!

How is it that the LORD is peace for us?

•      We were created to be centered in the Lord God – to be at peace with Him and so experience peace within ourselves.

•      It says in Romans 8:7 and 8 (Good News Bible):

      …people become enemies of God when they are controlled by their human
      nature; for they do not obey God’s law, and in fact they cannot obey it. 
      Those who obey their human nature cannot please God.

Before we submit to Jesus Christ, all we have out of which to operate our lives is the human nature!

•      In Colossians 1:21 Paul writes, “…you…once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works….”  If God is the source of peace, we cannot experience peace if we are alienated from God and enemies of God!

•      But, according to the verse just before – Colossians 1:20 (Modern King James Version) – it is written:  “…through…[Jesus] having made peace through the blood of His cross, it pleased the Father to reconcile all things to Himself through Him….

•      And in Romans 5:1:  “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand….

•      When we have peace with God, we also can experience peace within!  Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

•      When we have peace with God and peace within, then we can experience peace with others!  As Paul said in I Thessalonians 5:13, “Be at peace among yourselves.

•      According to Proverbs 16:7, the Bible even holds the answer to war in this old world!  “When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”  This principle holds true with nations as well as individuals!

So experience Jehovah-ShalomThe LORD Is Peace!  And let the peaceful blessings flow!

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