Gideon has an encounter with an angel of the Lord where the angel tells him to go to battle with the Midianites to deliver Israel from Midian’s control and Gideon’s response is “Well, God has abandoned us…He did all of these amazing things for our ancestors by freeing them from slavery in Egypt and sustaining them but now He has nothing to do with us…where is God?”
And God says to him, “Go in the strength that is YOURS. Didn’t I just command you to deliver your people?” Like, I’m literally right here sending you to save them.
And Gideon says, “but I am the runt of the litter, I am nobody, I can’t do it alone.”
And God said, “You won’t be alone. You will fulfill my purpose. I will be with you.”
And so Gideon asks God to wait so he can prepare an offering to give to him and when God accepts his offering Gideon is just so overwhelmed by this interaction that God speaks, “Peace”. He tells him, “don’t panic, don’t be afraid.”
So as Gideon rallies himself to fulfill God’s very specific, detailed plan he builds an alter to God and calls it Jehovah Shalom. God is peace.
If you haven’t read this story from Judges you should, because Gideon is so anxious and uncertain about his own abilities and about his role in God’s plan and about losing the battle…
but God knows that and still wants to use him.
Gideon’s anxiety isn’t a reason for God to just skip over him and ask the next guy to fulfill his plan. God understands his anxiety and his fear and says, “It’s ok. Don’t panic. I’m right here. I will prove to you that I am who I say I am because I know that you need that and I will prove that I will do exactly what I promised I would do, through you. I will reassure you every step of the way. But you need to obey me every step of the way.”
That’s the hard part…because walking in obedience doesn’t mean the anxiety goes away or the fear goes away or that it works out exactly how we thought it was going to work out!
We have to be obedient to what God is asking us to do and I know that’s hard when our minds are trapped by fear and anxiety and when we are overwhelmed with what we see happening around us. But those things are not a reason or excuse for you not to be used by God.
He doesn’t see your anxiety or fear and see you as a lost cause and just move on to the next willing Christian…He says, “I get it. I understand. But I need you. And when you ask me for reassurance I will give it to you. But when I ask you for obedience I want you to move your feet, and walk in the strength that is YOURS.”
He will speak Peace over you…
That peace that surpasses all understanding that Paul was talking about in Philippians…do you know what that is? It’s a sense of God’s wholeness. His completeness – and that wholeness and power and authority of God displaces fear and worry and anxiety in your mind and in your heart every time.
When you have a true sense of God’s wholeness you march into war with PEACE as your battle cry and an alter built in your heart to Jehovah Shalom and everything else bows down to that.
I am declaring, right now, that the authority and might of God’s perfect presence has the power to loosen the grip of fear and anxiety over our lives.