This morning at my Church, Pastor Jared Myrick spoke from Judges Chapter 6 about Gideon whom God raised up to defeat the Midianites.
The Midianites always managed to show up just at harvest time and abscond with the harvest before the Israelites could benefit from the fruits of their labor.
But while Gideon was hiding in a winepress, trying to beat out a little wheat for food before the Midianites found it, he had an encounter with God who commissioned him to deliver his people.
Pastor Jared emphasized that the spirit of Midian is still with us today, always seeming to rob us of our harvest. Snatching our promises away on the very cusp of fulfillment. Robbing us of health, provision, freedom, and hope.
Of course the reason for this in the Biblical account was the Baal altars prevalent throughout Israel, like the ones in Gideon’s front yard.
With one breath, Israel would cry out to Yahweh for relief from their oppressors and then pop over to the nearest Baal altar to hedge their bets. God says that we cannot serve God and Mammon. We must choose this day whom we will serve. Either Baal or Yahweh.
So Gideon took ten servants and razed the Baalite shrine. I find it interesting that it required ten servants. Ten is the Biblical number of law.
It is time for God’s law to be honored in this nation and in our personal lives. Righteousness must prevail, but sin is a reproach to any people. Bowing in homage to lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life robs us as individuals and as nations of our harvest…of the inheritance promised by God.
But Gideon repented and tore down that shrine. Then he offered sacrifice to the one true God of Heaven and Earth. He named the altar Jehovah Shalom, “The Lord is Peace”. Then God was able to use Gideon to kick some Midianite bohunkuses and get their lives back.
The root word of Shalom is “shalam”. One of the first uses of the word shalam in the Torah is in Exodus 21 and 22. In these 2 chapters, it is used 14 times.
In the translation of Exodus 21-22, shalam is translated as “make it good”, “shall surely pay”, “make full restitution” or to “restore”. The ancient Hebrew meaning of shalam was “to make something whole”. Not just regarding practical restoration of things that were lost or stolen. But with an overall sense of fulness and completeness in mind, body and estate.
In Hebrew, the word translated as “well-being”, “well”, and “in good health” is all one word – Shalom.
Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. (John 14:27).
According to Jesus, what the Lord is freely giving His followers is different than what you can find on our own in the world. It is certainly different than the false peace that Baal offers. Shalom is a true peace that empowers us to be all that we were designed to be – fully and completely. It is a gift from the Creator Himself to those who follow Him.
Most of the meaning of Shalom is not about an absence of stress or conflict but a wholeness that gives us the grace to fully function and thrive in the midst of troubled times. It gives us the ability to bless others with it and bring them along on our journey of restoration.
Because of Gideon’s repentance and his submission to the perfect law of God, Yahweh Shalom restored the stolen harvests and gave both Gideon and his people rest from their oppressors.
That was a powerful word from my brother, Jared. But it was doubly confirmed when I got home and logged into my email.
Lana Vawser’s latest word was waiting for me. Here is the link:
In it she talks about Shalom. I knew that God was confirming this theme. Lana says,
“As the winds of change blew fiercely and brought a shift in the season I saw so much haze, so much fog, so much debris from the brokenness and pain of the previous battles, away. As the winds of change blew fiercely and cleared the pathway in hearts, souls and lives bringing many into this beautifully deep season of healing, deliverance and wholeness the ‘fresh air’ that was in the atmosphere was so strong. The air was clear, it was crisp, it was life. It was His life. His breath. I began to see many of God’s people taking such deep breaths. They were coming to life again. Where the enemy has tried so hard for so long to muzzle God’s people, to steal their breath and steal their song, to suck the life out of them, the Holy Spirit was bringing life to these ones in such deep ways that they could breathe again with such peace and moving so deep into the SHALOM of God.
“The new land shook but the shaking was not bad, it was glorious. It was shaking because of the weight of His presence and the power of His Spirit. I watched as the land shook and upon these new lands and seasons the word “SHALOM” was branded upon them. The sound of SHALOM in Christ was SO loud in these new seasons and new lands.”
I close with the ancient priestly blessing upon all my readers:
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee Shalom.