In this article, we will continue our study of the names of God. This time we will be looking at Jehovah Shalom, what it means, and how we can learn that Lord is our peace. So, grab your Bible, and let’s study together…
A name or title can help us understand a person’s identity and/or what they do.
And we’ve seen throughout our studies that God reveals His character through us through various names. Though God does not need a name, He gives us these names as glimpses into Who He is so that we may know Him in a greater way.
One of these names is Jehovah Shalom. It’s a name full of promise, but it sometimes seems contradictory. So, what does Jehovah Shalom mean? What is God teaching us about Himself by revealing this name to us?
To find out, we can start by studying the history of Gideon in the book of Judges.
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What Does Jehovah Shalom Mean? A Look At The Hebrew
The only verse that refers to Jehovah Shalom in those exact words is Judges 6:24:
THE KJV – Judges 6:24
Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
THE NIV- Judges 6:24
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.
The Hebrew word for “The LORD Is Peace” is one word: “Jehovah-shalom”, which is made up of two separate words.
- Jehovah, the name by which the Israelites called God, roughly translated as “I AM.”
- Shalom, which is generally translated as “peace.”
By telling us that His Name is Jehovah Shalom, God tells us, “I am your peace.”
However, “peace” does not even begin to cover what the word “shalom” means. It’s a word that is so powerful and beautiful at the same time.
Understanding The Word Shalom In The Bible
A lot of Christians are familiar with the word shalom, but not everyone has fully grasped what this word means. Many of us blanket it under peace, but this word is so much more!
Also, shalom remains a Jewish greeting to this day. Its root word is “shalam,” which is Strong’s number H7999.
שָׁלַם shâlam, shaw-lam’; a primitive root; to be safe (in mind, body or estate); figuratively, to be (causatively, make) completed; by implication, to be friendly; by extension, to reciprocate (in various applications):—make amends, (make an) end, finish, full, give again, make good, (re-) pay (again), (make) (to) (be at) peace(-able), that is perfect, perform, (make) prosper(-ous), recompense, render, requite, make restitution, restore, reward, surely.
Reading it from the Strongs can be a little tough….it can mean any (or all) of the following:
- To be safe in mind, body, and estate
- To be completed
- To be friendly
- To make amends
- To be at peace
- To prosper
- To restore
Let that sink in. God is ALL those things to us…He is Jehovah Shalom!
There is no English word that compares with shalom. Even the Arabic word “salaam,” which shares a similar root and is also translated as “peace,” only means literal peace, such as a cessation of war.
But as we can see, shalom means that and so much more. Not only is it having peace, but being whole, complete, blessed, and prosperous. And I love that even restoration or being restored is shalom.
Think of how it feels when something has been taken from you or something dear to you has been damaged. It’s a horrible feeling, but if that thing is restored, it brings so much joy, contentment, and peace to you. That’s what our God does!!
For the sake of keeping it simple in this article, we will keep using the word “peace” to describe shalom, but every time we mention it, remember that it’s so much more than simply peace in the way we understand it.
What Does Having God’s Peace Mean For Us?
We all understand peace differently. To understand what God means, let’s examine the context of when this name of God was first used in the Bible.
Judges 6 tells us how the Israelites had fallen into sin and started worshiping Baal. This was before the days of the kings when Israel was under the rule of various judges, beginning with Joshua. Because of the people’s sins, they fell under the power of the Midianites.
These foreigners would invade Israel’s lands and devour all their produce, causing so much destruction that many of the people fled into the mountains and caves to find shelter. It was not a time of peace and prosperity for Israel.
According to verse 6, Israel was brought low and finally began calling out to the true God, who answered. He sent an angel to Gideon and told him to free Israel from the Midianites. Gideon did not take this instruction with grace, but after the angel performed a sign, Gideon was convinced that he was, in fact, an angel. He immediately built an altar to the Lord and called it “Jehovah Shalom.”
Note that, at this point, Israel did not have peace yet. Gideon was not even convinced that he was meant to bring God’s peace – he had to ask for two more signs before he took action, and that was followed by war, not peace. He only built this altar because he believed God had sent him an angel, which was enough.
Establishing God’s promised physical peace took him quite a bit longer. He had to destroy altars and go to war, defeating an army of 132,000 with only 300 men. But, in the end, they received God’s promised peace, restoration, prosperity and so much more.
However, this scripture shows that God’s peace does not necessarily mean everything will be peaceful around us instantly and with no effort on our part. We can see that in other scriptures, too. For example:
“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.” – John 14:27
Jesus spoke these words as He was about to be arrested and crucified. He knew that He was leaving the disciples to go into a time of persecution and even death and that the world would hate them. Yet He said He’s leaving them His peace, which is not as the world gives.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7
God’s peace is not something to be understood with our understanding. It’s a peace that will guard and protect us even when everything in the world is coming against us. It’s a peace that the world will never be able to understand since it gives us the ability to have peace even in the worst circumstances. It’s also one of the attributes of the fruit of the spirit!
God’s peace makes it possible to face even the worst persecution with a smile and hope that the world just can’t understand.
There are so many reports throughout history of Christians being executed but facing it with a calm that unsettled the onlookers. The peace of God is not dependent on our external circumstances but on how our inner-man is strengthened by God.
Making Jehovah Shalom Part Of Our Lives
All of this sounds extremely difficult because it makes no sense to our logical minds, and, as we’ve already seen, it’s not supposed to. God is supernatural, and His peace/shalom is supernatural.
But as Christians, we are meant to grow spiritually above and beyond the logical and physical. We are to become like Christ, Who faced His punishment and death with calm and peace.
So, how do we do that? Let’s look at what the Bible says…
- Renew your mind:
A significant part of living in the shalom peace of God requires us to change our thoughts. In fact, most of the battles we face on Earth occur in our minds, which is why Paul so strongly admonishes us to renew them.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. – Romans 12:2
Renewing our minds is a daily process of filling ourselves with spiritual truth through Bible study, listening to sermons and teachings, and meditating on the Word of God.
As we do so regularly, our ways of thinking will gradually change, and we will think about the world more as Christ does. I have found Biblical affirmations are a great way to help our minds get back on God’s truth.
- Know Your Future:
This doesn’t involve occultic fortune-telling or Biblical personal prophecy, though reliable prophetic words can be great, and God can use that! But despite that, we as Christians know a few things are certain because we can read them in Bible.
The world will get worse. As we move ever closer to the return of Jesus, the world will hate us, and life will get more challenging. That’s what the Bible says! And if we our honest with ourselves we can see the hostility towards Christianity is growing.
That doesn’t mean we should just accept it and roll over and die. We should still do everything in our power to improve things in the world (we are salt and light, after all). What it does means is that none of this is unexpected to God.
He told us it was coming, and Jesus overcame the world (John 16:33). We can get peace from that knowledge.
- We know our final destination:
There should be no doubt in the believer’s mind that, whatever happens to us in this life, we have something immeasurably better to come. The absolute worst that could happen to us on earth is not worth comparing with the glory we will receive in the end!!
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. – Romans 8:18
True peace only comes through Jesus Christ, and everything we’ve mentioned so far is only available to humanity through His sacrifice. If we want this peace/shalom, we must live in a dynamic relationship with Him daily because He is the one and only Prince of Peace, Jehovah Shalom!
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6
Just to wrap things up and summarize what we have learned…By introducing Himself as Jehovah Shalom, God tells us that He is our peace.
But this is not the kind of peace that the world gives. The peace of God means having peace regardless of what’s happening in the world. It’s the peace that disturbs the world and makes people wonder what we have that they don’t.
Jesus has overcome the world; we can find peace in that knowledge. And this peace brings us prosperity, restoration, amends, wholeness, and so much more! Hallelujah!
More On The Names of God
If you have enjoyed this post on Jehovah Shalom, I encourage you to check out some other names of God we see in the Bible.
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…