I've been meditating on Judges 6 recently, and God has been highlighting the importance of peace. Before Gideon started fulfilling the assignment the Lord had for him, God revealed Himself as Jehovah-Shalom. This is the first time in the bible that name of God was used.
"Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovah-shalom " (the Lord is peace). Judges 6:24
Up until now, Gideon was having a bad day. He was forced to thresh wheat in a winepress so the enemies of Israel would not steal it. He was doing his best to provide for his family under the circumstances he found himself in. I'm sure he was frustrated. Judges 6:13 & 15 gives us a little insight into his thinking that day.
All this frustration and discouragement is going around in his head. He starts picturing God using him to defeat the Midianites, but not really believing it could happen. He's not good enough, doesn't have the training to do it. But wouldn't it be awesome if it could happen. After all, God used Moses to bring His ancestors out of Egypt. In the winepress, God was forming the desire in Gideon's heart to be the deliverer God had created him to be.
Gideon looks up and sees a stranger sitting under a nearby tree. The stranger says, "Hey, Gideon I'm sending you. I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, just like you've been imaging."
Gideon thinks just maybe it could be the Lord but he isn't sure. So he prepares a meal to be sure. If the stranger is a man, they will enjoy a meal together before he goes on his way. But it wasn't just a man. The offering was consumed by fire, proving that it was the Lord talking to him. Then the Lord just disappeared out of sight!
Now Gideon is frightened. He has seen the Lord face to face and now he is going to die! He started the day frustrated and discouraged, then got really excited when he was told his dreams were going to come true. Now before it could happen, he was going to die!
23 And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die. 24 Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovah-shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
Ok, Gideon breaths a sigh of relief. I'm not going to die. And even though I can't see Him, I can still hear Him. Then Gideon builds an altar.
Building an altar wouldn't have been my choice at this point. I would have had lots of questions to ask while I could still hear the Lord. I would have wanted to tell somebody about the amazing experience I just had. But Gideon built an altar and called it Jehovah-Shalom.
Jehovah: The meaning of the word appears from Exodus 3:14 to be "the unchanging, eternal, self-existent God," the "I am that I am," a convenant-keeping God. From <https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/jehovah/>
Shalom: In the Bible, the word shalom is most commonly used to refer to a state of affairs, one of well‑being, tranquility, prosperity, and security, circumstances unblemished by any sort of defect. Shalom is a blessing, a manifestation of divine grace. From <https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/shalom/>
peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility From <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shalom>
Gideon builds an altar to remember what God had promised. Every time he walks by that altar, he remembers. Gods promise of peace; well-being, tranquility, prosperity, and security fill him. He sacrifices his doubt, worry, and fears here. to be consumed by the fire of Gods presence. He will bring his children (he had 70 sons!) and grandchildren here to tell them the story of that day. The day Jehovah-Shalom had visited him, so they would know that promise also.
Gideon didn't know Jehovah as Shalom when he was in the winepress as God was placing the desires of his heart in him. Nor did he know Him as Shalom when the Lord gave him his assignment and revealed Himself as Jehovah. But we do.
Gideon piled rocks as an altar at the place God appeared to him. As new testament believers, we are privileged to carry Gods presence inside us. It is in our hearts and minds that we build our altars. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us how.
" Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (NKJV)
Your altar isn't a physical place, although you can make one. A prayer closet, or God encounter room, is the perfect place for a physical alter. This altar is a place in your heart and mind where you offer to God all your anxieties and let Him consumes them with His fire. You choose to have faith in the covenant-keeping God that never changes. You allow His peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility to become your truth. Build your altar by meditating on the shalom while you are in the winepress, filled with frustration and disappointment. Place the doubt and fears for fulfilling your assignment on the altar of shalom.
I love the way the message bible reads.
6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. From <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+4%3A6-7&version=MSG>
Let petition and praises shape your worries into prayers. Write down your worry, then find a promise from the bible that addresses it and write it down. Let that shape your prayers and praise. Then every time that you feel anxious about that, go back to that. Offer that worry up as a sacrifice again. It won't be a one time and it's done. Most likely you have had years of practice at worrying, so it may take time to stop. But keep at it and don't give up. As the verse says, "It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."
How will you build your altar of peace? Let me know,
Shalom mug: Click on pic to view more