Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from Fred Carpenter
The scene was Israel about 1160 years before Christ. The Midianites were causing great suffering among the Israelites. Gideon was threshing wheat when God called Gideon and told him that he would deliver his people. Like so many others called by God to accomplish a God sized mission, Gideon was feeling uneasy about the task before him. The Lord said to him, (Judges 6:23) “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it The Lord is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrite.
The phrase “The Lord is Peace” is the focus of today’s devotional. To understand it, we must go back to the time when (in Exodus 3) God told Moses to return to Egypt to deliver his people. Moses responded “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” And God said to Moses, “I Am Who I Am.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, “I Am has sent me to you.” Exodus 3:13,14.
“I Am Who I Am” is the closest translation (or more exactly, transliteration) of a Hebrew word that cannot actually be pronounced. The closest Latin transliteration is actually YHWH. Notice, there are no vowels, only consonants. This name of God cannot be pronounced. Still in order to make this word accessible, scholars eventually added vowels and this word became Yahweh, or for some, Jehovah.
Throughout scripture, this unpronounceable name of God is used in conjunction with descriptive words to help us understand who God is. For instance . . .
“Jehovah” Jireh – The LORD our Provider (Gen. 22:13-14)
“Jehovah” Rapha – The LORD our Healer (Exo. 15:26)
“Jehovah” Nissi -The LORD our Banner (Exo. 17:8-15)
“Jehovah” Tsidkenu: The Lord Our Righteousness (Jer. 23:6)
and of course . . . “Jehovah” Shalom – The LORD our Peace (Judges 6:24)
The lesson we learn from these compound names of God is this. God does not just give us healing, provision, righteousness, peace, etc. He is all those things to us. Or in other words, He manifests Himself to us as our healing, provision, righteousness, peace, etc. How else could an invisible God show us who He is, other than personally being the answer to our deepest needs.
Gideon got it. He understood that the God was basically saying, that He was not just going to give Gideon peace, He was going to be Gideon’s peace. It is the same for us, except that God has since come in knowable form with a name, Jesus. Peace is a person, and His name is Jesus.
“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6 (NASB)