19 So Gideon went into his house and prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes from an ephah[b] of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the terebinth and presented them. 20 And the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And he did so. 21 Then the angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. 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.
Where Can We Find Peace?
Shalom, a word used by Israelites very often for greeting and blessing, may not be easy to find if we do not come to God. At the beginning of Judges chapter 6, Israelites suffered in the hands of the Midianites, they came like locusts, looting whatever they could find. Israelites made dens, caves, and strongholds to protect themselves, but they still could not have peace. They even cried out to the Lord, but it was still to no avail because they did not obey God.
A Call to Gideon
Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and commissioned him to save the Israelites, but he has many doubts, he believed that:
- The Lord has forsaken them. (Judges 6:13)
- He was too powerless to do anything. (Judges 6:15)
Upon the angels’ assurance, that God will help him, Gideon wanted proof that the angel who talked to him was really from God, he offered the angel a young goat and unleavened cakes. Fire came out from the rock to consume the goat and the cake, and the angel disappeared. At this point, Gideon obtained the proof that the angel was from God, but he has another worry, he thought he would die because he saw the Lord. It was God’s word that gave him assurance that not only he would not die but God would use him, so he started doing things for God and built an altar named it YHWH Shalom (The Lord Is Peace).
Peace does not mean without hostility, but it means God’s presence and empowerment. In fact, after building the altar, Gideon experienced so much fighting that I think he has never experienced before, however, the trust he has in God’s promise gave him strength and peace.