Week Twelve, Day One
Shalom is a Hebrew word, so much richer in its range of meanings than the English word "peace," which usually refers to the absence of outward conflict or to a state of inner calm. The concept of shalom includes these ideas but goes beyond them, meaning "wholeness," "completeness," "finished word," "perfection," "safety," or "wellness." Shalom comes from living in harmony with God. The fruit of that harmony is harmony with others, prosperity, health, satisfaction, soundness, wholeness, and well-being. When you pray to Yahweh Shalom, you are praying to the source of all peace. No wonder his Son is called the Prince of Peace.
So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace. (Judges 6:24)
GOD REVEALS HIS NAME
Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. . . . The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash . . . where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior."
"But sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian."
The LORD turned to him and said, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?"
"But Lord," Gideon asked, "how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family."
The LORD answered, "I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together."
Gideon replied, "If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. . . ." Gideon went in, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.
The angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth." And Gideon did so. With the tip of the staff that was in his hand, the angel of the LORD touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the LORD disappeared. When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, "Ah, Sovereign LORD! I have 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."
So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace. (From Judges 6)
Lord, I long for peace, the peace that only you can give. Please help me to pray for peace throughout the world and peace within my own heart. Help me to do the things I need to in order to experience true shalom.Amen.
Understanding the Name
Yahweh Shalom (yah-WEH sha-LOME) is a title rather than a name of God. Shalom is a common term for greeting or farewell in modern Israel. When you say shalom, you are not simply saying "Hello," or "Have a Good Day." In its deepest meaning, it expresses the hope that the person may be well in every sense of the word—fulfilled, satisfied, prosperous, healthy, and in harmony with themselves, others, and God. Shalom is a covenant word, an expression of God's faithful relationship with his people.
Studying the Name
- What does this passage reveal about the way God deals with his people's unfaithfulness?
- Think about a time in your life when you felt harassed by circumstances. What caused your difficulties and how did you respond to them?
- Why do you think the angel called Gideon a "mighty warrior"?
- What comes to mind when you hear the word peace?
For more from Ann Spangler, visit her blogspot on Christianity.com. Be sure to check out Ann's newest book, Praying the Attributes of God: A Daily Guide to Experiencing His Greatness.