Summary: In times of testing, with conflict on every hand, God's people rely on the peace that our Lord gives by His presence and amazing grace that sees us through it all.
GOD OUR PEACE
For a few minutes, let’s play Jeopardy. I’ll be Alex Trebeck and you be the contestants. Your category is: “God’s Names That Reveal His Character”.
Here’s how we play: I will give you an answer, then you will respond in the form of a question. For example, If I say, “It’s the name of the holy place where a lamb was caught in a thicket so Abraham could offer a sacrifice unto the Lord”, you would respond, “What is ‘The Lord Will Provide’, or, ‘What Is ‘Jehovah-Jireh’, or, What is ‘God is Our Provider’”.
First; “It’s the term Moses used to describe God’s intervention in a time of crisis when He turned bitter water into drinkable water.” (Acceptable: What is Jehovah-Rapha, or, What is God Our Healer, or, What is The LORD Who Heals?)
Next: “It’s the name given by Moses to the altar built to commemorate victory over the Amalekites.” (Acceptable: What is The LORD is my Banner, or, What is The LORD Our Banner.)
Finally: “It’s the name Gideon gave an altar which he built to commemorate the LORD’s presence and power that gave Gideon the victory and gave him the confidence he needed to keep going.” (Acceptable: What is The LORD is Peace, or, What is The LORD Our Peace?)
5 Questions about conflict in your life, and confidence in the Lord to help you deal with conflict in your life:
- How would you rate the current amount of conflict in your life?
(A little . . . Quite a bit . . . A whole lot)
- How would you rate your current level of confidence in the Lord?
(Low . . . Moderate . . . High)
- How would you feel if you had a lot of conflict in your life but not much confidence in the Lord?
(Anxious . . . Miserable . . . Angry)
- How would you feel if you had very little conflict in your life plus a moderate level of confidence in the Lord? (Calm . . . Tolerable . . . Hopeful)
- How would you feel if you had total confidence in the Lord despite having conflict in your life - whether a little, quite a bit, or a whole lot? (Content . . . Convinced . . . Peaceful)
My reason for asking these questions is to prompt you to think about any conflict in your life and to think about your level of confidence in the LORD . . . to determine what it will take for you (me, or any child of God) to experience peace.
The biblical account of his encounter with God shows that Gideon went from a low level of confidence to total confidence in the Lord and thus became a recipient of God’s peace - which empowered him to carry on despite conflicts that would arise – Judges 6:11-16 . . . (17-21) . . . 22-24 . . .
Once God’s people settled into the Promised Land, they forsook the Lord and worshipped other gods. God punished them by handing them over to their enemies. When the Israelites cried out to God, He raised up individuals to deliver His people. Unfortunately, this cycle repeated itself over and over again --- Sin and rebellion – Punishment – Repentance and deliverance – Spiritual renewal – Sin etcetera.
Would the cycle ever be broken? If so, who would break it, and what would it take for the chosen deliverer to break the cycle?
God raised up Gideon to break the cycle by letting God mold him and make him after God’s Will - to be used as God’s instrument of peace!
Gideon, like the Apostle Paul, met the LORD “face to face”, and that personal encounter changed him into a mighty warrior whose courage must have inspired his New Testament counterpart’s declaration: “If God be for us, who would dare be against us?” There is so much we could go into but . . .
We can summarize what it was that changed Gideon - turning his doubt into certainty . . . bitter situation into that which was better for him and his people . . . weak faith into unwavering trust in the Lord . . . skeptical questioning of God’s intent into an exclamation of praise and adoration. GIDEON HAD . . .
God’s Amazing Presence. “The angel of the Lord” (the pre-incarnate Christ) became visible to Gideon. And where was Gideon when the Lord appeared? He was down in the pit of despair, hid from view. Where does one go to hide from a foe (down in the dumps, behind closed doors, state of denial)?
The good news was that Gideon did not (because he could not) hide from God. Where did the Psalmist go to flee from the presence of the Lord? (Psalm 139:7 . . .)