Judges 7:17, 20-21
“Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do.” The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.
When the battle finally comes we find Gideon transformed by the peace of God. He is resolute and trusts God with wholehearted devotion. But was Gideon the only one? No, there were 300 that night who obeyed. The book of Judges tells us that in the battle these men “held their positions.” This is the Lord’s people – whole and complete – living and operating in peace.
Today the Lord invites each one of us to take our place in the “300.” As those who have been transformed by the Lord’s peace, may we be his peacemakers on our campuses and in our cities. Together may we resolutely and boldly proclaim “peace!” with our words and actions, inviting those around us to experience genuine peace and relationship with the Lord.
Prayer: “Lord, together as your church may we proclaim your peace to our campuses and to our cities. Through our lives may you bring your order and wholeness to those around us. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”
Isaiah 9:6b-7 He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
“God’s answer to everything that has ever terrorized us is a child. His answer to the bullies swaggering through history is not to become an even bigger bully. His answer is Jesus. Look at Jesus. As the Wonderful Counselor, he has the best ideas and strategies. Let’s follow him. As the Mighty God, he defeats his enemies easily. Let’s hide behind him. As the Everlasting Father, he loves us endlessly. Let’s enjoy him. As the Prince of Peace, he reconciles us while we are still his enemies. Let’s welcome his dominion.” (Ortlund, Isaiah: God Saves Sinners)
During the time of Judges, the people lived in chaos because they had no king – “everyone did as they saw fit.” It was through God’s loving initiative that Gideon came to know “The Lord is Peace.” Today, the peace experienced by Gideon comes to us in greater measure through Jesus Christ, our “Prince of Peace.” Jesus’ victory on the cross means we have victory over any fear or chaos in our lives. Let’s welcome his rule even more!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your victory on the cross which made a way for us to have genuine lasting peace. Today, we declare that your rule is greater than any present fears. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”
Judges 7:2-3 (NIV) The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.
How is peace possible when the Lord takes away, how is peace possible when we lose the very things that seemingly give us security? But true peace is about wholeness and completeness, and in this case it’s about wholeheartedness in Gideon’s life. This is the Lord revealing any last vestige of self-sufficiency and division in our hearts. Our preference is to have both “strengths” – my own strength and the Lord’s strength, but God knows division in our hearts breeds turmoil. Genuine peace is not possible when there are areas of our hearts, however small, that are reserved for ourselves, untouched and unaligned to him.
Today, if the Lord is putting us in a position where there is nothing and no one to trust except God himself, his heart is not to harm or trick us. It is an invitation to be wholehearted before the Lord where we find genuine peace in the Lord alone, where I AM is your peace.
Prayer: “Lord, may you establish wholeheartedness in us. May there be no division, no double-mindedness, no “stone” in our hearts unaligned to you. I find strength and peace in you alone. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”
Judges 6:25-26 (NIV) That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height.
“Without any further delay, the program begins. Before the battle with Midian there has to be a battle with Baal. The altar that exists in Gideon’s own backyard has to come down. You cannot have an altar to Yahweh-Shalom and an altar to a false god on the same property. The Lord is a jealous God. He will not share His territory or His glory with any other.”(David Jackman, Judges & Ruth)
Biblical peace is about wholeness, completeness, and order. As Christians, we experience peace as God brings a total reordering and realignment of our lives. It begins with worship.
There’s something very concrete and hands-on in what Gideon does to the idols. His actions are intentional and decisive. In the same way, the Lord invites us today to know his peace in concrete ways as he establishes a new order of worship in our lives – new schedule, new commitments, new priorities, new habits, and new ways of living – all of who we are in worship to him.
Prayer: “Lord, establish your new order of worship in our lives. Realign every part of us so that we can more fully worship you today on our campuses and workplaces. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”
Judges 6:23-24 (NIV) But the LORD said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
“And on that altar, he praised God for His peace—not because his situation had changed, but because God had showed up in the midst of the situation. With God, you can experience peace in any situation. Without Him, you can spend whatever you want, go wherever you want, do whatever you want…but you won’t have peace. The best you’ll get is a deflection of life’s anxieties or a diversion or distraction from them. If you want to know true well-being and wholeness despite life’s circumstances, you must be in God’s presence. In His presence, all odds change. All expectations change. All outcomes become dependent on Him and are not limited to what you can rationalize.” (Tony Evans, The Power of God’s Names)
Where does genuine peace begin? It begins in the presence of the LORD and nowhere else. As we face today’s challenges are we gripped with doubt or fear? God invites us today to be in his presence where we are assured that he is with us and working for our ultimate good in each of our circumstances.
Prayer: “Lord, we seek your presence today. We find true peace in you alone. We trust that all outcomes today are dependent on you as we follow and obey you. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”