Yahweh Shalom

The title is a Name of the Lord found in the Bible – “God is Peace.”  Peace! It can be an elusive quality of life.  We might wonder – What is going to happen to our economy? Or closer to home – how can I deal with my difficult teenager?  Or even more personal – how can overcome that habit that derails me time after time? What’s going to happen to me?”  Add to that the deadlines, the broken things, the stream of bad news and the tension can grow to a point that we feel like we might break.

Many people trick themselves into believing that peace is circumstantial or situational. “If we could change my place, get a new position, move to another town, get more money –  I just know I’d feel more peace.” Probably not, at least not for long. Troubles and difficulties find us all – rich and poor, young and old.  But, I have learned that there is a promise of true peace, a gift of God, that is constantly available to us through faith.

The raiders of Midian had overpowered the Israelites, driving them into the hills where they lived in caves. Times were desperate. In the 6th chapter of Judges, we meet Gideon, a farmer, trying to get food for his family in the ongoing conflict. He hid out near a winepress where he was threshing grain. We know he is afraid, because nobody generally would separate the grain from the stalks in a winepress! They used open threshing floors, large flat areas where they could tread on stalks, allowing the grain to fall off. But, Gideon was afraid that raiders would see him so he was using a winepress to gather grain from the harvest for his family.

Suddenly he is aware of a presence and a voice! “The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” {Judges 6:12 NLT} Gideon, a realist, looks around at his circumstances and questions that assessment. I always laugh at what he says about himself – “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” (Judges 6:15, NLT)  

He further questions God’s messenger about the desperate times that his people are experiencing.  But the angel miraculously consumes a meal with supernatural fire, like a burnt offering, and Gideon’s heart changes. “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. (Yahweh Shalom)” {Judges 6:22-24 NIV}

Peace comes when we choose to live in the Presence of God. His Spirit produces a serenity that allows us to rise above situations that cause others to panic and thus, to be peace-filled.  Oh yes, I will not be a hypocrite. I am only too aware of those seasons when I have laid awake into the small hours of the morning, full of anxiety because I attempted to live on my own terms.

When I attempt to exert control over situations, when I try to impose a ‘peace’ of my own design, things usually get worse! Have you shared that experience? In the middle of a stressful day, have you ever exploded, only adding to your own stress and that of others? In the middle of a crisis, have you tried to force a solution and created more chaos with your efforts? I am guilty!

But when I take time to re-center myself in the Spirit, turning myself over to Him, asking that He come into my mind and heart – peace follows. My circumstances may remain the same, but I am changed by Yahweh Shalom. (the Lord is peace) God’s invitation is that we live in a kind of blissful detachment from reality. He does not ask us to run to some far away retreat, or escape into denial by quoting endless Scripture passages or singing praise songs loudly attempting to dispel the fear. He wants us to be fully engaged with life, bringing order to chaos, healing to the broken, resisting evil wherever it makes its ugliness apparent.

However, in the spiritual warfare that is life in this broken world, He makes it possible for us to be people who know His Peace! The OT word, “shalom” means more than the absence of conflict. Shalom indicates wholeness, restfulness, and satisfaction. Today, before you engage with life’s challenges, go into the Presence of God.

Meditate on His Word.
Consciously commit yourself and your circumstances to Him.
Pray for renewed faith to trust Him with the imponderables of your life.
Allow yourself to seek acceptance, to rest in God as you wait for the ‘new.’
When you find yourself tensing up, feeling the pressure, breathe a prayer for peace.

The word from the Word for this Friday is a familiar one. Let the truth wash over you just now.

“”Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)

(Video of this blog at this link)



In the presence of Your infinite might,
I’m so small and frail and weak;
When I see Your pow’r and wisdom,
Lord,I have no words left to speak.

And I cry holy, holy, holy God,
How awesome is Your name,
Holy, holy, holy God,
How majestic is Your reign;
And I am changed in the presence of a holy God.

In the presence of Your glory,
All my crowns lie in the dust;
You are righteous in Your judgments, Lord,
You are faithful, true, and just.

In the presence of a holy God,
There’s new meaning now to grace;
You took all my sins upon Yourself,
I can only stand amazed.

And I cry holy, holy, holy God,
How awesome is Your name,
Holy, holy, holy God,
How majestic is Your reign;
And I am changed in the presence of a holy God.

© 1989 Integrity’s Praise! Music (c/o Integrity Music, Inc.) / PDI Praise (Admin. by Integrity’s Praise! Music) CCLI License No. 810055

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