THE GREAT I AM

JEHOVAH SHALOM – THE LORD IS PEACE

Ever since Genesis 3 the spontaneous human response in the presence of God is fear. We see this:

In Adam: ‘I heard you walking in the garden, and I was afraid …’ [Genesis 3:10].

In Isaiah: ‘ “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” ‘ [Isaiah 6:5]

In Ezekiel:  “When I saw it, I fell face down, and I heard the voice of one speaking” [Ezekiel 1:28]

In Daniel’s companions: ‘… such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves’ [Daniel 10:7]

In Daniel: ‘I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless … I stood up trembling’ [Daniel 10:8,11].

In the shepherds: ‘… the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified’ [Luke 2:9]

In Peter: ‘When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man.”’ [Luke 5:8]

In John: 1:17: ‘When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead’ [Revelation 1:17].

This overwhelming human fear in the presence of God was unknown in the original sinless world that God created, and it will be unknown in the world to come. But in the in-between world in which we all live our sin and rebellion clash with the holiness and authority of God. We know that we are guilty. We know that we deserve judgement. We know that God has both the right and the power to judge and punish us. We know that he could cut us off in an instant. We know that he has said: ‘… no one may see me and live’ [Exodus 33:20].

And so we fear. In the presence of God we do not feel safe.

In fear of death Gideon cried out: ‘Ah, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!’ [Judges 6:22]. Then came the unexpected, totally gracious reply: ‘Peace!’

‘Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.’ [Judges 6:23]

‘So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace’ [Judges 6:24].

Jehovah Shalom – the LORD is peace.

Peace – shalom – comes from a Hebrew root that means ‘to be safe’.

Here is an amazing truth: that in the presence of God, we humans can actually be safe, and it is God himself who is that safety, that peace.

Thus Jesus Christ said ‘My peace I give you’ [John 14:27]. The message about Jesus Christ is called ‘the good news of peace’ [Acts 10:36] ‘the gospel of peace’ [Ephesians 6:15]; and simply ‘peace’ [Ephesians 2:17]. Peace is the content of the Gospel.  Peace is the impact of the Gospel for those who believe:

‘Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’ [Romans 5:1].

‘For it pleased God …to reconcile all things to himself … by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross’ [Colossians 1:19-20].

Here, in Jesus Christ, and because of Jesus Christ, those who believe in him are forever safe in the presence of God, forever safe from the wrath and judgement of God. As safe as he, the beloved Son, is safe.

Jesus Christ, the LORD, the great I AM, is our peace.

Jesus Christ: Jehovah Shalom.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2013