January 15

The Lord said to Gideon, “Peace be to you; do not fear, you shall not die.” Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it, The Lord is peace. Judges 6:23-24 

Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

From a commentary on Gideon – “he was a simple husbandman up in the hills, engaged furtively in threshing out a little wheat in some hollow in the rock where he might hide it from the keen eyes of the oppressors. Then the angel of the Lord, unrecognized at first, appeared to him; and gradually there dawned upon his mind the suspicion of who He was who spoke.” Like many others in Bible stories, Gideon really doesn’t think he can do anything, especially since it seems he is supposed to save Israel. He tells the Lord that he is from the weakest clan and he is among the weakest of them. God tell shim that doesn’t matter, because it is the Lord that will be doing the saving. Together they will strike down the Midianites.  Gideon asks for a sign (actually several signs as the story tells) and gets one, including a visit from an angel. Now he is really scared, he has seen an angel face to face and surely this can’t be good.

Then the Lord tells him, to not fear, that he will not die. And, he is told, “peace be with you.” Finally he is ready to do God’s bidding. He builds an altar as a memorial to these events, and calls it the Lord is Peace. Rather ironic considering what is coming. Gideon goes that night to destroy the worship of Baal among his own people, and to gather some of them to confront and conquer the Midianites. Again from the commentary:  “But Gideon’s altar not only expressed his purpose in his taking up arms, but his confidence of accomplishing it, based upon the assurance that the Lord would give peace. It was a trophy erected before the fight, and built, not by arrogant presumption or frivolous underestimate of the enemy’s strength, but by humble reliance on the power of that Lord who had promised His presence, and had assured triumph.” The fear of the Lord is replaced by the Peace of the Lord.

In Hebrews too we are assured that we have someone who is with us in times of need, one who can be approached because He came to earth to live among us and experience the things that we all experience. We do not need to fear a judgmental angry God, or fear death if we get too close. God sent Jesus to be close to us, to be among us and to bring us all an everlasting peace.  

Prince of Peace, in these tumultuous times, we need your presence more than ever. Our angry thoughts are often at war with thoughts of good will. We ask boldly for your peace to rule our minds. Help us extend peace to others, so together we m ay infuse the world with reconciling love. Let there be peace, and let it begin with me. Amen 

Chris Gabel