“But the Lord said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The LORD Is Peace.” (-Judges 6:23-24a)
What do you think of when you hear the word “peace”? Maybe a state of inner calm or the lack of conflict or turmoil? Peace is something we strive for, but it seems unattainable. We may have glimpses of it, but our peace doesn’t last very long.
Take a second look at today’s scripture verse. Notice that Gideon names the altar “The LORD is Peace”. He doesn’t say the LORD of peace or the LORD gives peace. He says that God Himself is peace. The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. This is a familiar word to many of us, but what does it really mean? It means wellbeing, integrity, security, and calmness. In Israel, shalom is a common way to greet a person or say farewell to someone. With this greeting, you are expressing your desire that they would be healthy, prosperous, and fulfilled and that they would be in harmony with themselves, others, and God.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could impart shalom upon each other by simply saying the word? When I’m totally distraught and I’m desperate for peace, a kind and encouraging word goes a long way, but it doesn’t heal my deepest need. My deepest need for peace comes from the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. Jesus is our Jehovah-Shalom. In Ephesians 2:14, Paul says of Jesus, “He is our peace”. Jesus is the source of all peace. We were separated from God because of our sins, but Jesus reconciled us, making peace through His blood.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is from John 16:33 where Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
In John 14:27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Only Jesus can give us the peace (shalom) that we desire in our hearts. He offers us peace in the present and peace in eternity. What an amazing gift!
Many of us rely on distractions to bring us some temporary peace and there are certainly plenty of opportunities for distraction in our world today. The world offers empty promises, but Jesus, our Prince of Peace, offers perfect and lasting peace. Where are you placing your hope for peace today and for eternity?
Jehovah Shalom, You are holy and perfect, full of grace and truth. I confess that I’m prone to look elsewhere for comfort and peace. Forgive me for sometimes placing my trust in the world instead of You. I want more of Your peace which means I want more of You. Fill me with your presence, lead me beside the still waters, restore my soul, and lead me in the paths of righteousness for Your Name’s sake. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.