This post is part of the series The Names of God.
Judges 6:22–24 (ESV) — 22 Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the LORD. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.” 23 But the LORD said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and called it, The LORD Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.
Gideon built an altar and called it YHWH Shalom, or the Lord is Peace. When we hear the word “shalom” or “peace” we may immediately think of the opposite of conflict, fighting, or war. These are all good, but shalom is bigger than that. Shalom is the reordering of disorder. When God created the world, it was ordered and in harmony. When sin entered the world, the world was thrown into chaos and disorder. Things were not as they were supposed to be.
In Judges, God is called the Lord is Peace, which points to his grace and reconciliation as he related to Gideon. We see this grace on display throughout the Bible as God reconciles sinners to himself and is no longer at odds due to our sin and rebellion. Jesus is called the “Prince of Peace” because he made reconciliation possible by going to the cross and dying for the sins of mankind. Yet reconciliation of believers is not the only thing God is doing. He is redeeming all of creation. One day there will be a new heaven and new earth and there will be no sin. There will be no death. There will be no suffering. There will be shalom. The world will be ordered. Things will be the way they are supposed to be because YHWH Shalom is fulfilling his plans for this world.
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