And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die. Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
We all lack peace from time to time. Fear and worry can creep up on us when we least expect it, leaving us awake at night. Maybe we think peace will descend upon us once we have no difficult relationships or financial worries. Other times we may think peace will come through having the right leaders in our government, job, or church. Our culture often hints that we need to create peace in our lives with a better time-management plan, more self-esteem, or an escape to a tropical island.
However, we can learn an important truth from a man named Gideon in the Bible. He discovered that we don’t create peace; we receive it from God. While peace is a pervasive topic in Scripture, the name Yahweh Shalom which means “The Lord is Peace” appears only once. God revealed Himself as peace to Gideon during the time of the judges. When the nation of Israel had been oppressed by the Midianites for 7 years, the Lord appeared to Gideon and called him a mighty warrior and told him to defeat the enemy.
This stressed poor Gideon out. He said he was from the least family of the smallest clan and expressed his inability to complete the task the Lord gave Him. He tested God but eventually realized that God wanted to use him to turn the people of Israel back to Yahweh. The Lord said this calm to Gideon’s fears, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die” (Judges 6:23Shalom isn’t something we create. We receive it by faith when we believe that God says it will be all right.
Peace isn’t tied to circumstances. Gideon faced personal, family, and national distress. He encountered Yahweh Shalom in the middle of his stressors. He declared that God was peace before he experienced relief from the oppression of his enemies.
We can’t engineer peace through work, play, or even rest. Instead we receive it by trusting God and choosing to focus our thoughts on Him. (Isaiah 26:3) True peace can only be found through a relationship with God.