Jehovah-shalom - The Lord Gives Peace
Dr. Joe Temple


We have been studying for the last few weeks what we refer to as the Compound Names of God . Those of you who are familiar with your Bibles know that, generally speaking, there are three names of God in the Bible. One of them of course is Jehovah , one of them is Adonai , and one of them is Elohim .

You see the word Jehovah quite often in our English translations, but you do not see the other two words, Elohim and Adonai, very often. You do see the English words Lord and God . Whenever you see the word God , you recognize it as a translation of the Hebrew word Elohim , which means “mighty” and “powerful.” That name is easily used in relation to God, when He is talking about the world in general. Then the word Adonai is indicated in our English translation by the word Lord , but you will notice that word has only the first letter capitalized. Then the word Jehovah is indicated in our English translations by the word LORD , with every letter in that word capitalized. So as you read your Bible, if you will notice, every time you see the word Lord , whether the first letter is capitalized or whether every letter is capitalized, the meaning of the word will be evident.

In addition to those three basic names of God are these that we are considering together briefly, not in detail at all, the Compound Names of God . That is the word Jehovah coupled with another Hebrew word that emphasizes some specific characteristic of God that became evident through actual experience. So these compound names of God become very real to us because they are an outgrowth of actual experiences either of a group or an individual.

If you have your Bibles open to chapter 6 of the book of Judges, you will recognize immediately that it is a passage of Scripture related to the call of Gideon to become the savior of the people of Israel in a particularly trying experience related to their captivity and suppression by the Midianites. I am going to suggest that we look at the paragraph which begins with verse 11. When you have the time, you might want to read the whole chapter. Beginning with verse 11 of chapter 6:

Judges 6

11And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.
12And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.
13And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.
14And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?
15And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.
16And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.
17And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.
18Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again.
19And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it.
20And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so.
21Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.
22And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O LORD God! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.
23And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.
24Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

If you will look at verse 24, right toward the end of it, you'll find our compound name, Jehovah-Shalom , and translated it means “Jehovah is our peace,” or “the LORD is our peace,” or very literally, you might translate it “the LORD gives peace.”

Identity of the Angel of the Lord

This passage of Scripture will be without real significance to us unless we identify immediately the angel of the LORD . I am going to suggest to you, and ask you to accept it on faith unless you already recognize it as truth, until you have time to verify it in the Scripture, that the angel of the LORD here is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Our translators have not been as careful as they might have been because sometimes they precede the phrase, “the angel of the LORD” with the definite article an . Other times they precede it with a definite article the , and they should always precede it with the definite article the because it isn't an angel that appears to Gideon; it is the Angel of the LORD.

You'll notice in verse 11, our translators write, “there came an angel of the LORD.” They should have written the angel of the LORD. Down in verse 12, they translate it as it should be: “And the Angel of the LORD appeared unto him.” Then you will notice in each instance, LORD has every letter capitalized, which indicates that it is the translation of the word Jehovah . So it is the angel of Jehovah that came unto Gideon.

Basically, the angel of Jehovah came to Gideon to enlist his services in freeing the Israelites from the oppression of the Midianites; and of course, Gideon took the attitude any of us would take in the face of a great adventure about which we felt rather useless and felt that we could not cope with it adequately. He said “Who am I, that I should do this? I'm not able to do it. I'm the least of all my father's children, and my father is a poor man,” and on and on. But you will notice down in verse 16, the Lord said, “Don't worry about what you're able to do. I'm with you. You will be able to do anything.”

A Sign for Gideon

Gideon, of course, is the example of the man who found it difficult to walk by faith. He always had to walk by sight, so he was consistently asking the Lord for signs. There isn't anything basically wrong with asking the Lord for signs, or God would not have honored Gideon's request in granting him the signs. But if you study the Word very carefully, you will find that it is much more pleasing to the Lord for you to walk by faith than to walk by signs. God will encourage you. If you must have a sign, God will give it to you. But it pleases Him if you are able to walk without asking for the sign.

If you are familiar with the life of Gideon, you know that he asked frequently for signs. In this particular instance he said, “In order that I might be absolutely sure that this thing is from God, that God has really been talking with me, then you wait until I bring you a gift, will you?” The angel of the LORD said, “I'll wait; you hurry on and as soon as you come back, I'll leave.” As we read here in the Scripture, Gideon went into the house and he prepared a little goat and made a very edible meal and brought it out to the angel of the LORD, whom he considered at this particular time to only be a messenger of God.

Notice in verse 20 of this chapter:

Judges 6

20And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so.

I'm quite sure that he wondered why, though he was not too amazed at this request, because he felt that he was being with an angel and angels do do peculiar things sometimes, as the history of Israel will verify. You will notice in verse 21:

Judges 6

21Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.

As soon as that happened, Gideon was filled with terror, because he recognized the sign. The sign—the fire consuming the sacrifice—indicated God. In verse 22:

Judges 6

22And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O LORD God! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.

Why in the world was he concerned; why couldn't he rejoice? Why couldn't he say, “Why, it's wonderful; I have seen the Lord!”? He was a good Hebrew and he knew that no man could see God and live. No man can see God and live, and as soon as the sacrifice was consumed, he knew—no one had to tell him—“I have seen the Lord. I'm going to die; I know I'm going to die.” His full heart and life was filled with terror. But remember in verse 23, immediately Gideon built an altar, there unto Jehovah, and he called it Jehovah-Shalom , “The Lord is my peace,” or “God has given peace.”

Gideon's Fear of Death

As we mentioned to you as we began this discussion, each one of these compound names is related to a definite experience. The altar was given the name that is indicated by the words which we have just noticed because it was there that God spoke to Gideon's heart. Therein lies one of the great spiritual lessons in the Word of God, because we are told, as you will remember, by the Apostle Paul that these instances in the Old Testament are written in order that we might profit spiritually from the literal experiences—a spiritual experience for us derived from a literal experience of the Israelites.

Let's go back over this for a moment. Why was Gideon afraid? He was afraid of death. Why was he afraid of death? Because sinful man cannot stand in the presence of a holy God without expecting to die. Why did he have no peace? Because the sentence of death rested upon him. All of those things are true, and they become spiritual counterparts of our need before the Lord. We cannot stand as sinful men before a holy God. It is an utter impossibility. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The sentence of death is resting upon our shoulders today, and not one of us has any peace in our own flesh, in our own strength, in our own ability, because we are under the condemnation of the sentence of death.

Peace Found In the Lord

Back to Gideon for a moment. Gideon found peace, but how did he find peace? You say, “He built an altar and he found peace.” No, he found peace first, in a person. That is indicated by what he did when he built the altar and put the inscription upon it, ”the LORD is my Peace.” That's what he said. Now he didn't say, “I have found peace by building an altar.” He said, “The LORD is my peace.” He didn't say, “I have found peace by making a sacrifice.” He said, “The LORD is my peace.” He found peace not only in a Person, but he found peace in that Person's word, because you will notice what the Lord said unto him in verse 23:

Judges 6

23And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.

The only thing that Gideon had to go on was the word—the word of the Lord. The Lord said, “You won't die,” and Gideon accepted the word.

We take this Old Testament experience and bring it over into the lives of the era in which we live, or the people in the age in which we live, and we recognize immediately a like counterpart. Wherein does our peace lie today as sinners unto condemnation? Well, somebody says, “I have peace because I go to church.” There are multitudes of people who go to church who have no peace. Somebody else says, “I have peace because I have been baptized.” There are multitudes of people who have been baptized several times over trying to find peace, because the first time did not bring them peace, nor the second nor the third, and they want to keep on being baptized, hoping that one time it will take and bring peace. There are others who say “I find peace by being very faithful in the observance of all of the so-called means of grace related to the church—the Lord's Supper and baptism and faithful attendance at church.” But many, many people find no peace in that relationship.

We could go on and on, but time will not permit, so let's be positive. In what does our peace lie? Let's let the Word of God speak to our hearts. Turn, please, to Paul's letter to the Ephesians, chapter 2, verses 13-17:

Ephesians 2

13But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
14For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
17And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

You will notice the word peace emphasized in this paragraph at which we have looked today. In verse 14, “He is our peace.” That is the exact meaning of Jehovah-Shalom, “the LORD is our peace.” He is our peace. What does that mean? It simply means that there is no peace between sinful man and God save as it is found in the Lord Jesus Christ. The reason for that, of course, is found in the last part of verse 15, “so making peace.” The Lord Jesus Christ made the peace. He made the peace in the sacrifice of Himself.

Peace Found In the Word

Gideon's peace was found not only in a Person, as we have already noticed. It was found in the word of that Person. We read in verse 17:

Ephesians 2

17And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

The word for preach here, as we have pointed out to you at other times, is one of two words used for preach in the New Testament. One of the words is related to our kind of preaching, what I am trying to do right now, and then there is another word that is related to making an announcement. The Lord said to Gideon that day, “You won't die; don't worry; have peace.” That is the announcement of peace. The Lord Jesus Christ in verse 17 announced that there was peace to those who were far off. That's the Gentiles. “And there was peace to them who were nigh.” That's the Jews. The announcement is made and it is up to us to believe the Word.

Let the Peace of God Rule

Turn with me, please, to Paul's letter to the Colossians. I would like for you to notice as this is related to the text which we are looking at the moment. You'll notice in the third chapter of the Colossians letter, the Apostle is saying in verse 12:

Colossians 3

12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
14And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

Notice verse 15 and 16:

Colossians 3

15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Gideon's peace was in a Person, and his peace was in the word of that Person. If you notice in verse 15: “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.” God's peace wants to sit on the throne. You may say, “That's easier said than done.” It's not easy to let peace take control of your heart. Look down at verse 16: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” The first phrase of verse 16 and the first phrase of verse 15 are used in apposition to one another. How do you let the peace of God rule in your heart? By letting the word of God dwell richly in your heart. The peace that you have will be commensurate with the Word that you have. The peace ruling in your heart will be relative to how richly the Word of God dwells in your heart. Let the peace of God rule. Let the Word of God richly dwell and your peace will be commensurate with that.

So when Gideon's heart, filled with fear because he had seen the Lord and certainly he must die, heard the voice “Thou shalt not die,” he built an altar and he inscribed it with the words Jehovah-Shalom , which means “the LORD is my peace,” “the LORD gives me peace.”

Is the Lord your peace today? Has he given you peace? There is no other source outside of Him and His Word.

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