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. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. Judges 6:23-34 NIV
Harbor Island is a small residential island with a few exclusive shopping spots near downtown Tampa. During Christmas one of the largest decorated Christmas trees in the city would be proudly displayed on the edge of a point overlooking the bay. Memorable photos could be taken on the balcony, one flight up and midlevel with the tree. It’s changed today, but on December 12, 1986 it was the place of my bended knee asking Pam to be my wife for life.
Gideon had experienced a conversation with the Angel of the Lord and would live to tell about it. He knew that coming that close to God’s holiness has the possibility of death. The Angel told him. “Peace! Don’t be afraid, you shall not die.” Gideon built an altar – a place of remembrance and named it Yahweh-Shalom meaning the Lord is Peace.
Shalom – This peace means far more than inner tranquility. Its root starts with safety and a good welfare. It is used often in reference to smooth death experience such as “you shall rest in peace.” It also carries the idea of the totality of health and prosperity. Your whole livelihood shall experience the impact of all of the goodness that peace brings to your life.
Even though only Gideon and the Angel shared this experience. the altar became a place of testimony for others. Notice that the writer of the story, probably Samuel, said the altar still can be seen at Ophrah.
- Gideon’s personal experience led to his revelation of “Peace with God”. Billy Graham developed a personal witnessing tool called Peace with God. If you have made a confession of trust to follow Jesus, do you remember the significant events and place? People may not have the verbage to express their need, but all are in need of establishing “peace with God” to answer the longing in their heart of a broken relationship because of sin.
- Gideon would need the “peace of God” for the task that the Angel told him that he was to accomplish. Obedience of faith is easier when the peace of God is present. The peace of God remains with you during your storms. Remembering the grace of obtaining the “peace with God”, strengthens your heart to rest in the “peace of God”.
- Gideon used the altar as a point of reference to tell others of the experience. Gideon immediately starting doing things such as tearing down altars. These activities would require him to share the whole story. Do your actions of obedience lead to opportunities to share what God has been doing in your life?
- The cross of Jesus is a type of altar of remembrance for our salvation. Return there often to receive His grace and forgiveness offered in abundance.
- The altar signified his calling. His authority to lead the others to fight against the Midianites would always come back to this experience. His divine encounter with the Angel was the calling of his authority. Do you have “experiential nudgings” of the call for specific ministry in your life? Living out the calling of God will always require faith.
As the Angel said to Gideon, I also speak “Peace” to your life. May your health experience peace. Do not live in fear of COVID or any other illness. May your mind receive the peace of God as mentioned in Philippians 4:6-7. May you experience the complete welfare of success and wholeness in all areas of your life. May you walk in effectiveness of the callings that God leads you to accomplish for His name’s sake. Peace, do not be afraid.
Blessings Love y’all