Timeless Significance For Every Day
Devotions, Poems & Short Stories
Devotions, Poems & Short Stories
YOU SHALL NOT DIE by Susan Marlene
Then the Lord said to him, “Peace be with you; do not fear you shall not die.” So Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and called it The-Lord-Is-Peace.
Judges 7:23 – 24a
Dark times were upon Israel. If one strong enemy were not enough, more were added to impoverish the land and the people of God. How many sins does it take to tip the hand of this loving and protective Yahweh? How many offenses and desertions does it require to bring such a wave of punishment and lack? Indeed, enough consequences arrived to turn the hearts willing to wickedly abandon the Lord of Hosts. When He grants such permission—allowing discipline to come from enemies—His great love still probes for reconciliation for any who will receive Him. He knows when hearts are like hard-packed ground, impenetrable against any softer approach. Sometimes people will not accept the spiritual seed or watering that would create a garden of delight, in both thought and attitude, generating life and a spirit of generous love.
Gideon spilled out questions when the Angel of the Lord spoke to him—"why then did all this happen, where are all His miracles . . .” and an accusation, “But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
Sounds like Gideon’s relationship with Yahweh was as distant as Adam’s when he spouted off, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” Yahweh’s response was different toward the blame and lack of reverence spoken by both of these men. Why? Maybe because He sees into our hearts? Maybe because His focus across time and individual lives is far greater than we can imagine, even on a good day. Yahweh knew Gideon better than he knew himself, “. . . you mighty man of valor!” As well as, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites.”
This man, hidden in the winepress so that the Midianites wouldn’t see his attempt at threshing wheat, didn’t exactly thank the Angle of the Lord. He countered this perception with, “O my Lord, how can I . . . my clan is the weakest . . . I am the least in my father’s house.” More conversation continued before the man brought a precious prepared goat with bread that he placed on a rock and soaked in broth. The Angel of the Lord placed His staff on the offering, and fire rose out of the rock consuming the meat and bread. A miracle and accepted offering that turned Gideon’s doubting and troubling thoughts to the realization that the Angel of Lord was before him and he’d not died!
I tried to imagine the peace that flooded Gideon at the moment that the Lord spoke to him, “Peace be with you . . . do not fear . . . you shall not die.” Gideon, with a grateful heart, built an alter called The-Lord-Is-Peace. There it is—actual relationship—and not just knowing about-heard about religious trappings. Gideon would never be the same. Enemies would be met differently and with confidence with the knowledge that he wasn’t alone, even though the direction that the Lord gave him wouldn’t make it to Gideon’s common-sense list. I’m thinking about three hundred men armed with trumpets and pitchers who were obedient while the Lord scattered their enemy with fear and confusion.
Judges 7:19 – 22
The peace that the Lord gave to Gideon that day began the undoing of what Israel had suffered. The constant theft and bullying they received from Midianites, Amalekites, and the people of the East wore them down spirit, soul, and body. Their existence also lacked peace because they’d done evil. Their hearts had abandoned the God of their fathers. They were encouraged to “. . . not fear the gods of the Amorites . . .” but they’d “. . . not listened to and obeyed . . .” Him. It’s so easy to drift away from what and who we know is good. Entertainment, personal goals, and others can be so diverting. I’m so grateful for Gideon’s gigantic leap of gratitude and faith in the One who matters more than breath. His successes have built into mine, but my focus can, should, and is remaining on Father because relationship with Him is unlike and more excellent than any other. He brings peace to the weary soul. He alone is our all in all!
Let us remember all He has done and appreciate His peace and presence. Amen
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Writing devotions puts me in our Father's presence. My heart, mind, and spirit are focused on Him.