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State by state, America is locking down again: Oregon, Washington, California, Michigan, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Delaware, West Virginia, Indiana, and now Ohio… And the world is locking down again: Australia, most of Europe including England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy…

And these lockdowns are accompanied by protests rife with frustration, destroyed businesses, imploding economies, and a fearful and depressed populace. Indeed, the really real pandemic and threat is that of emotional upheaval demonstrated through depression, anxiety, and fear, leading to alcoholism, drug abuse and even suicide. And Christians are included in this emotional pandemic.

Are you dealing with this perchance? Are you depressed? Are you feeling anxious? Are you afraid? How are you dealing with the lockdown, with losing your job, having your hours cut, being far away from you family, having your church closed, social distancing, facing a lawsuit for practicing your Christian faith, having to wear a mask when going to the store, your kids being home all the time, an overwhelming illness etc.? How are you doing if you are one of those who “knows too much” about this plandemic, the transhuman/chimerical/DNA altering vaccine, and the elite’s agenda for a new world order that is unfolding? How are you holding up?

Through Christ’s death we have received many benefits/gifts as listed in Isaiah 53. He bore our griefs, carried our sorrows, was dishonored for our rebellion, was crushed for our depravity, was disciplined for the sake of our peace, and by his wounds and bruises and stripes we are healed. Psalm 103 also lists the benefits of forgiveness, healing, redemption, a crown of lovingkindness and tender mercies, satisfaction and restoration of youthfulness. Whatever your emotional state at this time in human history and no matter where you are worldwide, let’s remember one of those many benefits (Psalm 68:19) that Jesus through His sacrificial death and resurrection gave to us freely if we will but receive it: peace. Isaiah 53 says that Jesus was disciplined for our peace.

There is a lot that could be said about this peace. To begin with, this is a peace between God and man. Secondly, it is a peace in spite of circumstances. Thirdly, and most importantly, it is a peace that only God has given and can and will give.

Gideon

In the book of Judges we find a story about Jehovah Shalom, “The LORD is peace.” Judges 6 begins by saying that Israel had done evil in God’s sight and because of that God had given Israel as a gift to Midian. Because of this, Israel was terribly oppressed even to the point of hiding in caves while Midian destroyed their crops and took all of their animals. It would be equivalent today of destroying all of our grocery stores, restaurants, the farms that produce all that, and taking anything edible away.

It is in this destitution and fear that we find Gideon secretly threshing wheat in a wine press. And a messenger of God appears to him as he hides in the wine press and addresses him as a mighty man of valor. One thing leads to another, and Gideon is gripped by the startling realization that he’s just seen a messenger of the LORD face to face. It is then that God speaks to him saying, “…Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.” Gideon is so moved by God’s words that it says, “…Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah shalom…” which means, “The LORD is peace.”

Yet, there was no peace in any of Gideon’s circumstances. Many fearful obstacles still surrounded Gideon and would continue to face him. Nevertheless, he moved forward at the prompting of the LORD. He tore down his father’s altar to Baal and grove of trees wherein the Israelites committed idolatry. He then faced the zealous, idolatrous men who would have killed him on behalf of their fallen idol. He then successfully gathered 32,000 men to do battle against the Midianites, and after getting further confirmation from God, prepared for battle. The man who at the beginning of the story was hiding in a wine press, and who throughout the story kept asking for signs, was unmoved by his and his nation’s overwhelming circumstances in light of the God of peace who had appeared to him and had spoken directly to him.

And things got crazier! God said that 32,000 soldiers was too many! Judges 7:1-3 reads, “And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.3 Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.”

So, there were to be ten thousand to fight against a multitude. Judges 7:12 says that “the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.” Ten thousand against an enemy so countless that they were like a swarm of locusts blackening the sky and devastating all in their path.

But God was not finished. It got crazier! Judges 7:4-8 continues, “And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.5 So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.6 And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.7 And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.8 So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets: and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men: and the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley.”

Three hundred men. Three hundred men versus a multitude. But Gideon chose to rest in the LORD of peace, for the battle belonged to Him. And with the faith of that one man and the foolishness of three hundred men smashing pitchers and blowing on ram’s horns, God scattered the host of Midian and in their fear the enemy even killed each other.

The BIG Question

How big is our God? No I mean, how big is He in our lives today? When we are faced with great emotion, who is bigger? God or the emotion? Who is bigger? God or the problem? Who is bigger? God or the plandemic? Who is bigger? God or the vaccine? Who is bigger? God or the persecution? Who is bigger? God or the loneliness issue? Who is bigger? God or the loss of a job, the collapse of the economy, the destruction of our liberty, the frustrated protests, the unfolding of the new world order or . . . you think of your own situation whatever it might be? Who indeed is bigger? Has God become too small in our eyes?

You see, what we are focused on matters. Peter learned this first hand in Matthew 14.

Walking on the Water

In Matthew 14 we come upon a scene of amazing grandeur. There, Jesus has separated from His disciples and gone off to pray. The day had been wearying to Jesus and the disciples. Many had been healed, and it had ended in a mind-boggling multiplication of the five loaves and 2 fishes. The disciples had stood in shock as that meager amount fed a great multitude of hungry men, women and children. Now, Jesus had insisted on dismissing the enormous crowd himself and insisted that the disciples go ahead and sail to the other side of the great lake. He’d meet up with them later. Meanwhile, it says in verse 24 that they were in the middle of an agitated, restless sea that tossed their ship about as the wind blew antagonistically.

That of course is when Jesus appeared . . . walking on the water, and His disciples thought He must be a ghost. That’s when Jesus called out to them, and Peter daringly said, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.”

What was bigger in Peter’s eyes? On what was Peter focused? At first, as Peter stepped his feet out in faith upon that stormy sea, Jesus was bigger in Peter’s eyes. Step by step, he moved toward Jesus, focusing on Him, doing what no man has done before or since. But, after he took his eyes off of Jesus and focused on the wind thrashing about the choppy waves of the sea, he began to sink.

Conclusion

There is a difference between physical fact and spiritual truth. It was a fact that the army of Midian was enormous. But the truth was that God was greater. It was a fact that the wind was contrary and the waves rising, and that people plain and simply cannot walk on water, but the truth was that Jesus was the Lord of the wind and the waves (Psalm 93:5) and God alone treads upon the waves of the sea (Job 9:8). No matter how much Gideon planned or strategized, the army of Midian was still too vast and too numerous that even 32,000 men in their own strength could not have defeated them. General MacArthur himself could not have bombed, blasted or barricaded them away. And as for the sea, no one has ever tamed the sea nor ever will. Only God!

And indeed, it is no different in our lives when faced with the sea of anxiety and fear and emotions of all kinds, as well as army of physical problems, relationship issues, plandemics, or any circumstance that is overwhelming of unjust. It is then that the enemy of our entire being swarms upon us and rages against us like the fury of Midian, and we like Gideon hide in a wine press and wonder where God is. The sea comes crashing in and the wind threatens to sink us. But Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Let’s choose today, while it is still today, to get our eyes off of the multitude that has come to destroy us, the wind and waves seeking to drown us, the tribulation that is overwhelming us, and choose instead to accept Jesus’ gift of peace that He paid for on the cross for us to have freely. Let’s get our eyes off the insanity of this world and back onto Jesus, and let Him be magnified in our eyes today.

***********

Be Magnified

By Don Moen

“I have made You too small in my eyes
O Lord, forgive me;
I have believed in a lie
That You were unable to help me.
But now, O Lord, I see my wrong
Heal my heart and show Yourself strong;
And in my eyes and with my song
O Lord, be magnified
O Lord, be magnified.

Be magnified, O Lord
You are highly exalted;
And there is nothing You can’t do
O Lord, my eyes are on You.
Be magnified,
O Lord, be magnified.

Be magnified, O Lord
You are highly exalted;
And there is nothing You can’t do
O Lord, my eyes are on You.
Be magnified,
O Lord, be magnified.”


Other Jehovah Shalom Articles:

Part 1:

“Jehovah Shalom: What is Our Focus?” https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/11/19/jehovah-shalom-what-is-our-focus/

Part 2:

“Jehovah Shalom: Peace in Spite of Our Circumstances,” https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/11/23/jehovah-shalom-peace-in-spite-of-our-circumstances/

Part 3:

“Jehovah Shalom: Do Not Be Anxious,” (Puzzle Piece #1) https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/11/25/jehovah-shalom-do-not-be-anxious/

Part 4:

“Jehovah Shalom: Abiding in Christ,” https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/12/10/jehovah-shalom-abiding-in-christ/

Part 5:

“Jehovah Shalom: Thankful Prayer,” (puzzle piece #2), https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/12/29/jehovah-shalom-thankful-prayer/

Part 6:

“Jehovah Shalom: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/12/29/jehovah-shalom-turn-your-eyes-upon-jesus/

Part 7:

“Jehovah Shalom: Think on These Things,” (puzzle piece #3), https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2021/01/07/jehovah-shalom-think-on-these-things/

Part 8: (puzzle piece #4)

Other Possible Articles of Interest:

“The Time Is At Hand: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/07/15/the-time-is-at-hand-turn-your-eyes-upon-jesus/

“At Home In Christ,” https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/09/09/at-home-in-christ/