Read David A. Leiter's Neglected Voices: Peace in the Old Testament
“So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace.” Judges 6:24
The story of God calling Gideon to deliver his people Israel begins unceremoniously. The Midianites are bullying their way through Jewish territory routinely, taking crops, slaughtering animals, and scaring Gideon’s people into the caves and ravines of local mountains. So desperate the times and dire their future, even Gideon, a soldier, threshed grain in the bottom of a dried up winepress so as to avoid detection from his enemies.
And then God’s angel approached him, saying, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” even though Gideon looked more like a scared school boy in a hopeless fight with recess meanies. But the Lord continued, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
When Gideon later realized that he had come face-to-face with the angel of the Lord and lived, he humbled himself and took up God’s call. He also built an altar and called it “The Lord Is Peace.”
I wonder why Gideon called God peace. Was it for sparing his life despite their close encounter? Was it for strength to know he could take on the Midianites and win? In the end Gideon didn’t raise a sword as God worked miraculously through 300 men to turn the Midianites upon themselves. Perhaps in this instance God wanted us to understand his peaceful intentions, his presence to find peace despite adversity all around.
God, you are Yahweh-Shalom, The Lord Is Peace. Help me know your peace and your ways to handle difficult people and situations today.
One peaceful option for handling conflict is to forgive the perpetrator. Forgive someone who has hurt you.
Can you call God your peace? Do you lean on his peaceful ways to get through trials?