Old Testament reading from Judges 6:11-24 (NIV)
11 “The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” 13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” 15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” 16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” 17 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. 18. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.” And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.” 19 Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak. 20 The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. 21 Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the Lord disappeared. 22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!” 23. But the Lord said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” 24 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.”
New Testament Text from Colossians 3: 12
“Let the Peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through Psalms, Hymns and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with joy in your hearts”
- Do you sometimes feel that God has rejected you, or that He is not concerned about what you are going through?
- Reflect on the Hebrew name “Jehovah Shalom” – what does the name mean to you and are you experiencing the peace of God in the times of trouble and storms in your life?
- Do you ask God for signs in your walk with Him? Do you think this is wrong to keep asking him for signs? Do you think we must learn to develop a strong faith and trust that He will come through for us all the time?
- Gideon was fearful when he realized that he was in the very presence of God – discuss why you think this is true?
- What major factor will prevent us from experiencing God’s peace in our lives?
- Consider the term “Justification” what does it mean to you, and what do we need to do to be justified?
- What did Jesus leave you as your inheritance on the cross?
- Are there factors when it would be impossible to experience real peace – discuss?
- We find two kinds of peace in this study – list them and do you agree?
- Reflect on the following power quotation, “The level of peace ruling in your heart will be relative to how richly the Word of the Lord dwells in your heart. How can we increase the levels of God’s Word in our lives?