Jehovah Shalom means “The Lord is Peace” or “The Lord Is Our Peace.” It is one of the many names for God in the Bible. We find it in Judges 6:24 in connection with the story of Gideon.
The book of Judges tells of the days when the children of Israel were just settling into the “Promised Land.” The surrounding peoples resisted the Israelites moving in. And the Israelites, themselves, found it difficult to always trust God and remain faithful to Him.
Too often, they let their pagan neighbors lead them into idolatry and turn them away from serving the God of heaven. As Judges 21:25 says, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
From time to time, a leader—called a “judge”— would arise to call the people back to God. But before long the Israelites would turn again to the false gods of the people around them.
Because of their sins they forfeited God’s protecting care, and their neighbors often made war against the Israelites and oppressed them. Their lives were filled with anxiety, suffering, and all kinds of problems both personally and as a community. In short, it was anything but a peaceful time for the Israelites.
Gideon was one of the judges whom God raised up to bring His people back to Him. At this particular time, the Midianites were attacking Israel, taking their flocks and harvests, filling them with fear, distress, and uncertainty about the future.
Many of the Israelites were cowering in caves and the mountains from fear of their enemies (Judges 6:2, 3). Gideon was threshing wheat in a secluded place, trying to keep it from being found and taken by the Midianites when the Lord appeared to him and called him to deliver His people from their tormentors (verses 11-14). When Gideon realized it was God speaking with him, he feared for his life.
“Then the Lord said to him, ‘Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.’ So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it The-Lord-Is-Peace [Jehovah Shalom]” (verses 23, 24).
At a time, when there was no peace in Israel or in people’s hearts, God came offering relief from their troubles. Gideon’s story is a remarkable reminder that no matter how difficult life may become, God can bring peace into our lives when we trust Him and follow His plan for us.
It took Gideon a while to believe that God could really use him to deliver Israel. Their enemies, the Midianites, were much more numerous and powerful. But when Gideon placed himself in God’s hands, the Lord gave the Israelites an amazing victory over their enemies and restored peace. Gideon found God to truly be Jehovah Shalom—the “Lord Who Is Our Peace.”
Today, God still brings peace into troubled hearts. He is still Jehovah Shalom—the “Lord Is Our Peace.” The story of Gideon tells you that when your life is all upset—in your times of greatest distress—that is when God often brings peace and relief. And He will bring you peace if you trust Him and let Him carry out His plan for your life. That was true for Gideon, and it is true for you today. God is Jehovah Shalom.
There is a richness to the peace that God gives us that we can never fully understand. But we can experience it. The apostle Paul wrote, “Be anxious for nothing. . . the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6, 7). Whatever you are facing in life right now, God says to you as He said to Gideon, “Peace be with you; do not fear” (Judges 6:23). He is Jehovah Shalom—the “Lord Is Our Peace.”