#3  The “Names of God” Series



("The Lord is Peace")


TEXT:         Judges 6:1-24


INTRO:       There is restlessness in the world today – caused by many different problems.  Governments are racing against time trying to solve problems in the hope they can bring peace to the world.  In spite of this their efforts clearly fall short even when the appearances of peace are printed outwardly!


ILLUS:     The feeling of being beset by blind forces is especially strong in the mixed city of Jerusalem. ... Hardly a day passes in the "holy city" without a riot or a stoning, without cars being torched or firebombs thrown, without attempted lynchings or the stabbing of an Israeli by a Palestinian (or vice versa).  After each incident, municipal cleaning machines, marked "CITY OF PEACE" in three languages, appear on the scene to wash the blood from the streets in time for the next group of pious pilgrims to pass by, fingering their rosaries and muttering solemn prayers. -- Amos Elon in The New Yorker (Dec. 24, 1990). Christianity Today, Vol. 36, no. 3.


We assume we would have peace if we had:

a.    A decent salary a year per person

b.    A nice home for every human being

c.    No sickness or being ill

d.    Plenty of food and water for everyone!

(These things are not unimportant!  God expects us to try and make many of these things a reality, but the truth is that these things won't bring peace, peace will bring them!)


If these things alone are the foundation of our peace we will be frustrated constantly and never find peace!


PROP. SENT:     The Bible teaches us that our peace is found in God – not in goods; peace comes not from solving problems but from saving people!  Then “the Lord is our Peace!”  (Jehovah-Shalom) 


I.   PROBLEMS!   Judges 6:1-6


A.    Power of Midian    Judges 6:1-2

1.    Feelings of helplessness. (Sounds like today)

a.    The enemy was greater than they were.

b.    Their failure to turn to God left them vulnerable.

2.    Had to hide in fear.

a.    This was the result of sin.

b.    They knew they were on their own; their sins had separated them from God.

3.    Feelings of devastation and loneliness.

a.    Sin creates this sense of loneliness; we are outside of a relationship with God when we are living in sin.

b.    They had taken measures in their own strength to protect themselves, and the results were inadequate as they always are against a strong enemy.


ILLUS:     A true story: A retired couple was alarmed by the threat of nuclear war so they undertook a serious study of all the inhabited places on the globe.  Their goal was to determine where in the world would be the place to be least likely affected by a nuclear war.  A place of ultimate security.  They studied and traveled, traveled and studied.  Finally they found the place.  And on Christmas they sent their pastor a card from their new home -- in the Falkland Islands.  However, their "paradise" was soon turned into a war zone by Great Britain and Argentina.

   Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 402.


4.    No control over life when we do it under our own power.


B.    Planted & Ruined!   Judges 6:3-5

1.    Their efforts never paid off.

a.    Whatever work they did was destroyed by others before they got the chance to enjoy the fruits of their labors.

b.    Their efforts were wasted.

c.    Others destroyed their hard work.

2.    Financially embarrassed.

a.    This of course left them broken and in poverty.

b.    No matter how hard they tried to get ahead they fell behind.

3.    Overwhelmed by problems.

a.    They tried to get ahead without God and instead only found misery.

b.    Their own strength was not enough to secure their present much less their future.

c.    They ignored their sins but hoped that this didn’t matter; it was the source of their lack of peace!


ILLUS:     I remember talking to a girl here in this church two or three years ago. She said, "Jill, I've lost my joy, I've lost my peace, and I want it back."

   "Where did you lose it?"  I asked.

   "That has nothing to do with this," she replied.  "Help me to get it back."

   "But where did you lose it?"

   "I don't want to talk about that."

   But eventually she did talk about it.  She lost it when she moved in with her boyfriend.  That'll do it.  -- Jill Briscoe, "Hanging Up Our Faith," Preaching Today, Tape No. 148.


4.    Lack of food and security.

a.    God was not being cruel to them, He was allowing them to realize the fruit of going it alone and trusting in their own strength.

b.    The realization of the futility of making it on their own would drive them back to God.


C.    Prayed for Help    Judges 6:6

1.    This is exactly what Israel needed, how beautiful that God was supplying their need!

a.    What was painful was also restoring them.

b.    We don’t always see this side of pain, but this is why God many times allows pain into our lives.


ILLUS:     No God, no peace; know God, know peace.  -- Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990).


2.    It got them praying again to the true God!

3.    These problems actually form the base that later will bring them true peace!

4.    Our peace is not found in what we have on this earth, it is found in what we are in Christ!  They needed to learn that the Lord is their peace, (Jehovah-Shalom) not their livelihood!


II.  PRIORITIES!    Judges 6:7-10


A.    Prophet Sent     Judges 6:7-9

1.    "What saith the Lord" is the foundation we find peace; not "What saith Merrill Lynch."

a.    God sends them a prophet to send them His Word!

b.    This is the beginning of their finding peace.


ILLUS:      Ramsey MacDonald, one-time prime minister of England, was discussing with another government official the possibility of lasting peace. The latter, an expert on foreign affairs, was unimpressed by the prime minister's idealistic viewpoint. He remarked cynically, "The desire for peace does not necessarily ensure it." This MacDonald admitted, saying, "Quite true. But neither does the desire for food satisfy your hunger, but at least it gets you started toward a restaurant."  -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 403.


c.    First God reminds them of His deliverances in the past, so that they are inspired to believe for the present.  God had delivered their ancestors, He is able to do the same for them.

2.    The road to peace is the road to God!

3.    The road to God is through Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh!

4.    God's Word will align our priorities and when our lives line up to these, peace results!


B.    Priorities Secured!   Judges 6:10

1.    God is first!

a.    When He is ... we are at peace!

b.    Whatever is first in your life will be the extent of your peace!

(1.    If money is your priority then when you have it you will feel some peace and when you don't have it you won't!

(2.    If it is your goods, then as long as they are in good shape and you have them you will feel some measure of peace, but when they break down or get lost so does your peace!

c.    All things of this world are temporary; therefore they can only offer you an external, temporary type of peace!

d.    But God is Eternal and life with Him gives Eternal peace, that even begins in this life!

2.    Lack of peace means lack of God!


ILLUS:     In this confused world, some people have peace while others go to pieces. -- Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990).


a.    God points this out to them, while He had delivered their forefathers, this new generation had failed to follow God like their forefathers had and so they were drifting by themselves helpful victims of their enemies without God’s help.

b.    That can change however if they make the right decision to follow God wholeheartedly again.

c.    They could hardly do worse than they were at present; they were gaining nothing at the moment!


III.  PERSPECTIVE!   Judges 6:11-22


A.    Presence of the Lord    Judges 6:11-13

1.    Proper perspective is formed when we get together with God

a.    In prayer

b.    In His Word

2.    It takes the Lord's presence to give us the Lord's perspective!


ILLUS:     Peace is not arbitrary.  It must be based upon definite facts.  God has all the facts on his side; the world does not.  Therefore God, and not the world, can give peace. -- Billy Graham (1918- ) - Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992).  Entry 8456.


3.    God starts with a man … He will begin His work with even one person willing to come to Him.

a.    Gideon is hardly the best candidate, in fact he is the least of all the clans, and the youngest, but he is also willing to listen to God and that fact alone puts him at the head of the line!

b.    God looks for willing hearts.

4.    While Gideon doesn’t understand the present apparent absence of God’s power at work, he is at least talking to God.


B.    Power of the Lord     Judges 6:14-16

1.    "Where is God's power when we need it?"

a.    Notice the wrong perspective here:  Gideon didn't notice who it was who abandoned whom!

b.    God had not abandoned them, they had abandoned God!

c.    They had failed to talk to the right source before, and this will always fail to bring peace!


ILLUS:     It is madness for sheep to talk peace with a wolf. -- Sir Thomas Fuller (1608-1661) - Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entry 8446.


2.    God could take their weakness however and reveal His power!

a.    Gideon was a nobody!

b.    Manasseh was a divided tribe.

c.    Gideon's clan was one of the weakest in Manasseh.

d.    Gideon himself was the youngest or least in the family.

e.    He was the lowest of the low!

3.    GOOD!  Now God could reveal His power in their weakness!

a.    Notice that Gideon was still thinking like the present generation, that things were up to them:  Judg 6:15  "But Lord," Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel?” (Underline for emphasis mine)  Gideon thought it would be up to him.

b.    God corrects this misunderstanding quickly however:  Judg 6:16  “The LORD answered, "I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together."” (Underline for emphasis mine)  It wouldn’t be Gideon’s power; it would be God’s through him.

4.    God isn't concerned how weak or impossible our situation is, the worse it is the more clear that it is His power and not ours that brings victory!


C.    Promise of the Lord    Judges 6:17-22

1.    Promise to be with him.   Judges 6:17-18

a.    God graciously promises to wait for Gideon to return.

b.    God is full of mercy.

2.    Promise to give him victory.   Judges 6:19-22a

a.    Gideon prepares a sacrifice, demonstrates the proper sense of giving here.

b.    Sacrifice is part of our relationship with God.

3.    Promise that God is in control.   Judges 6:22b

a.      Gideon realizes after all this that God is really in charge!

b.     He marvels at having been in God’s presence, this alone changes him … and should us too.


IV.  PEACE!   Judges 6:23-24


A.    Peace & Life    Judges 6:23

1.    Now that he has moved from problems, to priorities, to perspective, he can receive peace!

a.    Now God says to him “Peace.”

b.    Peace is the byproduct of a real relationship with God, when we are in right relationship with Him we can sense His peace.

2.    God's power instead of destroying our lives gives us our life!

3.    Where fear once ruled, now peace rules the heart!

4.    But it came because God came into Gideon's life!

5.    The starting point of real peace is found in finding Christ as our Savior!  “THE LORD IS PEACE!” (Jehovah-Shalom)


B.    Peace of God!   Judges 6:24

1.    “The Lord is Peace” (Jehovah-Shalom)

a.    Gideon builds and altar to God here and calls it: “The Lord is Peace” (Jehovah-Shalom)

b.    Jesus in John 20:19-23 appears to the Disciples as the resurrected Lord and twice says: "Peace be with you."

c.    That's because Jesus was with them, and He is our Peace!

2.    No matter what shape the world is in, or what shape our personal lives are in, we can have peace now!


ILLUS:     A friend visited an elderly woman badly crippled by arthritis.  When asked, "Do you suffer much?" she responded, "Yes, but there is no nail here," and she pointed to her hand.  "He had the nails, I have the peace."  She pointed to her head.  "There are no thorns here.  He had the thorns, I have the peace."  She touched her side.  "There is no spear here.  He had the spear, I have the peace."  That is what the atonement of Jesus Christ means for us -- He gave of himself so that we might have the peace. -- Ralph Turnbull, If I Only Had One Sermon to Preach -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 35.


3.    Biblical peace is not the eradication of problems, but assurance of God's presence even in problems!

4.    The world can't offer this kind of peace!  Theirs is based on solving problems; God's is based on saving people!

5.    This peace came to Gideon before victory on the battlefield!


CONCLUSION:   Our peace is found in God, not goods!  The world tries to solve problems to bring peace; God saves people to bring peace!  Which would you rather have, peaceful solutions, or peaceful souls? "THE LORD IS PEACE!"  (“Jehovah-Shalom”)