As we look at seven names of God evident in Psalm 23, today we see a third name: Jehovah Shalom, the Lord our peace. (Previously we saw Jehovah Rohi, The Lord my shepherd and Jehovah Jireh , the Lord my provider, in Psalm 23:1.)
Who first used the name Jehovah Shalom in the Bible?
Gideon used it in Judges 6:24. He was working in hiding because he was afraid of the Midianites who were mistreating and stealing from his people, the Israelites. An angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” And Gideon responded, “But, sir, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, “Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?”
Might you – or someone you know – be asking the same question? “If the Lord is with us, why doesn’t this Covid-19 stop? Why are people losing their jobs?…”
We note in Judges 6 that the angel never answered Gideon why. He simply said “Go in the strength you have…. Am I not sending you?” So, Gideon built an altar naming it “the LORD is peace” and offered a sacrifice. That night the LORD told him to tear down his father’s altar to Baal and build one to God and offer a sacrifice on it. Gideon did what he was commanded, but under the cover of night, because we are told he still was a little afraid.
No one can answer all the questions that people have about Covid-19. And some people have answers – which are the opposite of other peoples’ answers! I can tell you one thing with certainty. God may not answer your why, but He still has a purpose for you to accomplish. You were born at this junction in history to make a difference in some way. If you cannot work or are sheltering at home – you can pray, call others on the phone, create art, write, help an invalid or elderly friend, make plans to start a business or endeavor – use the strength and gifts that you have. He’s calling you to do things in an excellent way, so that people will be amazed at what the Lord has accomplished and how much insight and strength He has given you.
How does that relate to Psalm 23?
In Psalm 23 we see that the good shepherd accompanies the sheep through the valley of the shadow of death (v.4) and he guides them to green pastures and refreshing streams to recover their strength (v.2). A good shepherd always accompanies his sheep, protecting and directing them. It doesn’t matter if you don’t “feel” peace at the moment. Be like Gideon, and despite lingering fear, push on through and you will see the fear begin to fade. God doesn’t look down on us because of our feelings, but He does ask for our obedience.
After Gideon destroyed the altar, still being somewhat fearful, he led Israel in defeating the Midianites and Judges 8:28 tells us that Israel had peace for forty years afterward. Jehovah (the Lord), your peace, is with you. Just as Midian’s reign of terror was finally conquered, Covid-19 will finally be over (as all pandemics eventually are). The Lord will give you the courage you need, but you need to choose to get up and go in the strength that you have, mighty warrior, and do what God has told you in the secret place!