“Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and called it, The LORD Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.” (Judges 6:24, ESV)
This is the third in a series about bearing the Name of the LORD in a worthy manner. We have come to believe that the commandment, “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7, ESV), means that you shouldn’t use God’s Name as a curse word. But, while that is certainly true, Carmen Joy Imes points out that the word “take” is better translated “bear,” as in “carry or lift up like a banner.” Parts 1 and 2 looked at that specifically in the context of Exodus 20, and also examines some other verses that lend credence to Imes’ theory. Today, while keeping in our minds this interpretation, I’d like for us to look at another of the Names ascribed to God.
Judges chapter six tells us that the people of Israel had once again turned away from the Lord and done evil things. So God, “gave them into the hand of Midian seven years” (verse 1). The Midianites occupied the land and consumed the produce thereof, leaving little sustenance for the Israelites. After the Israelites are firmly rebuked by an unnamed prophet, an angel of the LORD appeared to the youngest son of a family from the weakest clan amongst the tribe of Manasseh, Gideon.
As with Moses, and numerous others throughout scripture to this point, Gideon is not comfortable with the LORD’s choice. He makes excuses. He asks for signs. The first sign he is given is that his offering is consumed with fire when the angel takes his staff and touches the rock upon which the offering is laid. The angel disappears.
At this point, Gideon is properly terrified and cries out to the LORD. Scripture records that the LORD then spoke to Gideon, telling him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die” (verse 23). Speaking for myself, I think that probably would have freaked me out even more! But not Gideon. He took the words of the LORD to heart and built an altar to the LORD and called it Yehovah Shalom—the LORD is Peace.
The world is a wreck. Lying spirits have seduced many away from the faith to something falsely called Christianity. “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-8, ESV). And true Christianity is facing opposition in the United States in unmatched fashion.
A global pandemic has the hearts of many filled with anxiety. The economy is stressed. Thousands of small businesses have been forced to close their doors. Politicians have ramped up the vitriol against their opponents as the blame game moves steadily forward and our government becomes more and more irrelevant to the masses.
If ever the world needed peace, it needs it now. And it needs Christians to bear the Name of the LORD in a worthy manner. It needs us to proclaim Yehovah Shalom from hearts filled with His peace. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27, ESV). The world is looking for peace. We should rise up and tell them that we have found it in Him.
As always, these are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!
Image by Kat Jayne from Pexels