Jehovah Shalom – The Lord is Peace (Judges 6:24)
I have asked three people I highly respect to contribute to this article. Their assignment: What does the name Jehovah Shalom mean to you? I am sure their words will do more justice to this wonderful name of God than anything I could write. (Not that it will stop me from writing, though.) Before you read what they wrote, allow me to set the scene, in a manner of speaking.
We live in a world without peace. According to some estimates, the United States has been at war for 93% of her existence. 222 out of 239 years. We live in a time when it is a daily occurrence for the news to report a robbery, an abduction, or a murder. The world, and more specifically our country, does not know peace.
It is only natural for people to be deeply affected by the chaos and the ever-present threat of violence. It can be frightening. Christians are not immune to this dread and fear. In fact, in some ways we are even more susceptible to it. We see the downward spiral in which our country seems to be headed and are constantly reminded that many in our nation do not share our values. Who are we kidding? Our values are in the minority. Social media is brimming with messages, posts, rants, prayers and all manner of expressions of our fears and uncertainties. We are horrified by what is happening in our country and around the world, and we feel helpless to stop it.
Well, I have good news! God is a God of peace. He does not give us a spirit of fear.1 He left us with a gift—peace. And the peace He gives is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.2 Our God is the sovereign LORD who holds the world in His hands. He is the creator of the universe. The omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Prince of Peace. Do not allow the fears of this world to take your eyes off Him. He is there, walking on the water, beckoning us to trust him. Step out in faith and in peace knowing that His very voice controls those waves that threaten to overwhelm you. He simply has to say the words, and that storm will be no more. “Peace be still.” He is saying those words to us now.
Are we listening?
Jehovah Shalom: What This Means to Me
For the Hebrews, shalom (peace) meant more than the resolution of war. It encompassed everything good about a relationship, a sense that all is well. Perhaps this is the confidence we express when we sing our Christian hymn “It Is Well with My Soul.”
The fact is that by nature all of us were God’s enemies. Romans 5:1-11 looks back to that universal condition: “we were [His] enemies” (v. 10). In the face of that truth, of our hostility to Him, “we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son.” By His redemptive work, His cross and resurrection, Jesus restored us to God’s good graces. No wonder the first verse in that passage exults, “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God.”
For me, then, the fact that God is Jehovah Shalom, the God of peace, means that He has drawn me, in my rebellion, to Himself in love and gifted me with the knowledge that the broken relationship between us has been healed. Indeed, all is well and I am at peace.
Once that reconciliation of peace has been accomplished, then He is at work in the circumstances of our lives to provide us with peace in the face of needs and difficulties. He remains on duty, listening to our prayers and responding with grace. He offers us the opportunity to be anxious about nothing but instead, in every situation, to bring our requests to him in prayer, promising that “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding” will guard our hearts and minds from fear and anxiety (Philippians 4:6-7).
So we have peace with God and the peace of God. That’s what this magnificent name of God as Jehovah Shalom means to me.
Jehovah Shalom: What This Means to Me
Debbi Atwood Sexton
The eye of a hurricane is the most recognizable feature within this particular kind of storm. The storm rotates around the eye and it’s where the lowest surface pressures are found. There are light winds and clear skies, allowing the sun or stars to be visible. The eye is the calmest section of the hurricane and represents the center of the storm.
The storms of my life have, at times, been brutal. The most damaging storm, my own personal hurricane, happened last year when my youngest child, a daughter, died from cancer at the age of 32. The strong winds of anger and doubt still threaten to knock me down and the dark clouds of fear and heartache taunt me, hovering over my soul like a predator watching for prey.
Jehovah-Shalom, the God of peace, is the eye of my hurricane. He’s the one sure thing I can recognize in the storm. When the pressures of grief begin to build, I can find calm in His presence and promises and strength to move forward with purpose.
Often, I’ve sought comfort through food, mindless activities, work and even church attendance. There is no true, lasting peace when I wander away from God, the eye of my storm, where gentle breezes, clear skies and warm sunshine can be found. Jehovah-Shalom is the only source of peace that is beyond our understanding, a peace not based on feelings, but on the truth of God’s Word.
In some very dark hours of the history of Israel, God revealed Himself to Gideon as Jehovah-Shalom. Gideon was the first to call on the Lord by that name. When the angel appeared to him, he was crouching in a winepress. In these times, like Gideon, we are brought low by our desperate situation and we long for the peace of God.
Even though I have never lived in a war zone, I can relate to the stresses of fear and loss. It has pressed the very core of my being. Like Gideon, I will build an altar to the Lord. Like Gideon, I have discovered firsthand that He is Jehovah-Shalom…The Lord is Peace!
“There’s no space that His love can’t reach, there’s no place where we can’t find peace, there’s no end to amazing grace.
Take me in with your arms spread wide, take me in like an orphan child, never let go, never leave my side.
I am holding on to You, I am holding on to You. In the middle of the storm, I am holding on, I am.” – I Am, by David Crowder
What the LORD is Peace Means to Me
My purpose is not to analyze my own clinical depression or to hand out advice. Someday, maybe I will publish the book I have written! Instead, I want to share what Jehovah-Shalom is and was to me during the most crucial spell of depression. I do encourage you to get medical help and medicines, if necessary, for continual, overwhelming depression. And be aware that many self-help books on cures for depression are not usually worthwhile; find ones that are. I read Rob Morgan’s The Red Sea Rules several times because of its scriptural emphasis on how people in the middle of impossibilities can emerge victoriously. Also, I still like searching the Bible for characters who found victory in Jehovah-Shalom. Meanwhile, I wish that our churches would address the issue of depression in hopes of removing the stigma still there for needy believers.
Mr. T has nothing on me when it comes to hating to fly. Maybe drugs would have been unnecessary had he quoted Psalm 91 every air mile! On jets or puddle-jumpers, I have never felt I was on a fun ride while dropping several feet. I have, however, flown through turbulence in a plane and in my life knowing that God is my peace.
In my depression, my husband was my sustainer and loved me with all the promises made in our wedding vows, but even he could not give me the assurance of peace. Only God could make me aware that depression cannot destroy the fact that He is my peace, for He is the embodiment of the word “peace” in Judges 6:24. “Whole. Complete. Sound!”
Judges 6 is the story of Gideon, the runt of a family on the bottom rung of any Israelite’s ladder. God told him to build an altar that would be a perpetual memorial for His people. Gideon did not feel valiant (as God called him), knowing he was about to become the prophet-leader of a sorry bunch of people wallowing in fear and poverty. Gideon’s encounter with the Angel of the Lord, however, made him believe that God would live up His name, Jehovah-Shalom.
I love the story of the woman with the issue of blood in Luke 8:43-48; she is akin to Gideon. She was emaciated from twelve years of hemorrhaging. Unclean. Ostracized. Fragmented in soul and body. Sick. She longed to have all the pieces of her life put together, as we all do. She reached out to Jesus, who said to her: “Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.”
I know from the Word and from my personal experience, even though I have never had the angel of the Lord appear to me, that God’s character is all that His name implies, including the Lord of Peace. That is the essence of His name and God himself. May the peace of Jehovah-Shalom be yours today!