Friday, March 13, 2009

The Lord is [My?] Peace

Something I read in Judges 6 made me go "hmmm" this morning. An angel of God comes to Gideon (who's hiding while he tries to work) with instructions to lead the Israelites in battle against the Midianites, promising help in the task and complete victory. Wanting to be sure this isn't just a dream or fit of insanity, Gideon asks the angel to stay put while he runs to the house to prepare an offering.

He returns ASAP with a cooked young goat, baked bread and a pot of broth. Presenting them to the angel, he is instructed to place the meat and bread on a rock and pour the broth over them. So Gideon does as he is told. "The the angel of the Lord touched the meat and bread with the tip of the staff in his hand, and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed all he had brought. And the angel of the Lord disappeared" (vs. 21).

Now, at this point, Gideon had the same reaction I would have: he freaked. "Lord, I'm doomed!" he says. Suddenly, God speaks to him (remember, the angel's gone, so where's this voice coming from?) saying, "It's all right. Don't be afraid. You won't die." But, here's where my path and Gideon's diverge. At this point, the place where all this has occurred could be name, "the Lord watched Julie run away really fast." But, Gideon, so struck with calm and assurance, builds an altar there and names it "the Lord is peace."

PEACE??? PEACE??? Let's recap: He's hiding from enemies, met an angel, worked hard on a offering, watched fire come out of a rock and consume his hard work, seen the angel disappear, and heard a voice from out of nowhere talk to him. And he can name the place PEACE???

I can't begin to imagine how soothing the voice of God must have sounded. Whether or not it was audible, we don't know, but it was a million times more consoling than a parent calming an anxious child. God's words must have enveloped him like an embrace around his soul. God's voice encircled him, strangling the fear within and shrouding him with security. Serenity. Tranquility.

And that same voice speaks to me every day. Though inaudible, it speaks. In every struggle, in every miracle, in every moment I am willing to listen. In the midst of consuming fire or after it has passed, I want to confidently say with Gideon, "the Lord is [my] peace." No question marks.

This is the message of Good News--that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all (Acts 10:36).

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