"But the Lord said to him, 'Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.' 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." ~Judges 6:23-24 NIV
I'm not exactly sure what the Israelites thought would happen to them after they died. I guess I've never really thought about it before. As I look back at each of the patriarchs' deaths there seems to be a finality to death. The most important part of their death was where their bones were buried.
And then Jesus came and everything changed. He gave us hope of eternity with Him in a place He is preparing for us. Yet we still fret for our safety. Of course there is a natural and understandable human desire to live a long life with people you love around you. We find no joy in suffering or pain. Again I say, of course. But there is so much more to not fear.
How much time do we spend fretting about our loved ones and our own safety? Look at how much time and money is spent on crash reports, helmets, five-point harness car seats. Now hear me, those things are all fine and good. I certainly don't have a death wish for myself or my loved ones. But I think we have become so bubble conscious that it has just put a greater fear of death into our psyche. We, as believers, do not have to fear death because a greater life than we have ever known is waiting for us. This life is like going away to college. We are living in temporary housing in a far away place. It's restrictive and in miniature. It has its joys and sorrows, ups and downs. We work; we increase our knowledge of people and the world, but it's not our real home. That is still on the horizon. And we should have no fear of it.
In this passage, God is reassuring Gideon that he is not going to die in the conflict with the Midianites. So Gideon builds an altar and calls it The Lord is Peace. We've also been assured that we are not going to "die" in the battle. We will just move on from this life to an eternal home. In the meantime, we continue to lift up praise to the Father and rest in His peace.
- Are you afraid of death? Why?
- How does your fear hinder you from accomplishing all that God has for you in this life?
- Find a Scripture to hang on to when you have the most fear.