Names of God – part 44
The LORD our peace
YHWH is God’s actual name which he revealed to Moses from the burning bush, it implies the personal nature of God.
The second part of the name here is how God relates to us: Shalom means peace, but not just the absence of war although it can be used to mean that. Shalom means inner completeness and tranquillity. Without peace, there can be no completion. When the New Testament says, “The God of peace lead you into all peace,” it is talking about these ideas of completion and tranquillity.
The name YHWH Shalom comes first from the story of Gideon. Mideon had taken over the land of Israel. Israel had failed to follow God, preferring their own way, and as ever when people want to ignore God and go their own way, God judges them by saying, “Okay, have it your way.” To be taken over by one of the more powerful surrounding nations was the consequence of God allowing them to go their own way, which is being judged by God. It is a common theme in Judges that Israel did “what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of [Enter name of a surrounding tribe here.]”
Into this time of judgement comes Gideon. We meet him threshing grain in a winepress, being scared of being seen by the Midianites. I know nothing about ancient Jewish agricultural practices, but threshing needs wind to separate the light chaff from the heavier grain. Whatever the local practice was, a winepress was unsuitable for threshing.
God looked on the cowardly Gideon and saw his potential; as he does with us all. When Gideon realises what God is saying, and after checking (Gideon always triple checks in the story) he says that God is the God of peace, even at a time of great trouble. The Midianites have yet to be defeated. Gideon had found the Shalom, the inner contentment and tranquillity, that God gives even during a time of trouble, with battles yet to be fought.
God is still the God of inner contentment and tranquillity in the time of trouble. Jesus never promised it would be easy, he said, “In the world you will have trouble,” but he followed that with, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Jesus has become our peace, even when we are in trouble. Jesus has become our peace.
It is no wonder that to those who do not know God that our peace, the peace of God passes all understanding, It is truly mind-boggling.