Judges 21:25 ‘In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes’. (NKJ)
No Jesus No Peace, Know Jesus, Know Peace!
Context: People were oppressed. They were in a cycle, repent, return to sin, face consequences, cry out for restoration. God would raise up a new judge and Israel would follow but then backslide.
This sin-salvation-sin cycle happens 7 times in the Book of Judges.
- Judges 5 tells that Israel had rest for 40 years under Deborah.
In this section (Judges 6), after Deborah and 40 years of ‘peace’ the Midianites would destroy all of their crops, livestock, and everything else that would contribute to their livelihood.
It is during this time that the Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and told him that he would single-handedly defeat the Midianites.
Judges 6:22, ‘When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he cried out, “Oh, Sovereign LORD, I’m doomed! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!” (NLT)
Question: Who was this angel of the Lord?
Theophany = Appearance of a god/deity that is tangible to a human/human senses.
- Genesis 12 & 18 – The Lord appears to Abraham
- Genesis 32 – Jacob wrestles with what appeared to be a man, but was actually God (may also be a Christophany).
- Exodus 3 – God appears to Moses in a burning bush.
- Exodus 24 – God appears to Moses with Aaron and his sons and the seventy elders.
- Deuteronomy 31 – God appears to Moses and Joshua.
- Job 38-42 – God answered Job out of the tempest and spoke at great length in answer to Job’s questions.
Frequently, the term, ‘the glory of the Lord’ reflects a theophany; the ‘pillar of cloud’ has a similar function.
A frequent introduction for theophanies can be seen / found where the words, ‘the Lord came down,’ are present.
Christophany = Some Bible commentators / scholars believe that whenever someone received a visit from ‘the angel of the Lord,’ that they were in fact the pre-incarnate Christ…a Christophany! (Gen. 16:7-14; Genesis 22:11-18; Judges 5:23; 2 Kings 19:35).
Transition: Gideon was so frightened at the sight of the Angel of the Lord that he knew he was as good as dead, but the Angel said, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.” With that comfort Gideon built an altar and called the place “Jehovah Shalom: The Lord is my Peace”.
What God revealed to Gideon.
- God will always meet you Where you are.
- No reason to fear God.
- God’s intention is to provide you peace.
Shalom = well-being, tranquility, wholeness, over-coming strife, prosperity, security.
Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). When Jesus meets his disciples after the resurrection, he continually says to them, “Peace” (John 20:19,21,26). Under these circumstances it is obvious that the term “peace” is extraordinarily full of meaning. What is this peace Jesus gives us? In order to understand Jesus’ words, we must reflect on the many facets of the crucial Hebrew term shalom, which lies behind the English word “peace.”
Shalom is one of the key words and images for salvation in the Bible. The Hebrew word refers most commonly to a person being uninjured and safe, whole and sound. In the New Testament, shalom is revealed as the reconciliation of all things to God through the work of Christ: “God was pleased . . . through [Christ] to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through [Christ’s] blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:19–20). Shalom experienced is multidimensional, complete well-being — physical, psychological, social, and spiritual; it flows from all of one’s relationships being put right — with God, with(in) oneself, and with others.
Shalom with God
Most fundamentally, shalom means reconciliation with God. God can give us peace with himself or remove it (Psalm 85:8; Jeremiah 16:5). Because Phinehas turned away God’s wrath on sin, he and his family are given a “covenant of [shalom]” with God (Numbers 25:12). One of the offerings under the Mosaic covenant is the shelamim offering — the peace, or fellowship, offering — the only one of the Levitical sacrifices in which the offerer receives back some of the meal to eat. Sin disrupts shalom. When anything heals the rupture and closes the gap between us and God, there should be a celebration, a joyful meal in God’s presence.
Shalom with Others
Shalom also means peace with others, peace between parties. It means the end of hostilities and war (Deuteronomy 20:12; Judges 21:13). The wise woman of Abel Beth Maakah maintained her city’s shalom, its peacefulness, by averting a siege and war (2 Samuel 20:14–22). But shalom does not mean only reconciliation between warring factions or nations (1 Kings 5:12). It also refers to socially just relationships between individuals and classes. Jeremiah insists that unless there is an end to oppression, greed, and violence in social relationships, there can be no shalom, however much the false prophets say the word (Jeremiah 6:1–9,14; compare Jeremiah 8:11).
Shalom with(in) Oneself
Shalom consists of not only outward peacefulness — peace between parties — but also peace within. Those who trust in the Lord have inner security; therefore, they can sleep well (Psalm 4:8). God gives “perfect peace” (or shalom-shalom) — i.e., profound psychological and emotional peace – to those who steadfastly set their minds on him (Isaiah 26:3).The result of righteousness before God is “peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever” (Isaiah 32:17).
Transition: 4 Tips from Philippians 4:4-9 about peace.
In this passage Paul gives us four points of instruction that deal directly with prayer and worship: Rejoice in the Lord, pray, give thanks, and meditate. He goes on to say that if you do these things then you will position yourself to be surrounded by the peace of God.
- Rejoice in the Lord Always
- Give Thanks
- Meditate: focus,
Transition: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
“Unto you a Child is born, and He shall be called the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Peace was the burden of the Angel’s song when unto us that Child was born-and Peace was the legacy of the Prince of Peace as He ascended again to Heaven.