This is part one of a new series we’re calling, “Hello, My Name Is… A Series on the Names of God.” Look for the next installments to come throughout February. You can find the latest when you follow Tara’s author archive. We’ll add links to the whole Bible study once it’s complete.
Lesson Seven: Yahweh Shalom/ Prince of Peace
Main Idea: Yahweh Shalom sends us in peace, saves us in peace and shields us in peace.
Memory Verse: “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O LORD, do not abandon those who search for you.” Psalm 9:10
- Read lesson, Scripture references, and Philippians 4:6-9, Colossians 3:12-17, John 14:27, John 16:33, Judges 6-8
- Gather: Bible, lesson plan, dry erase markers or chart paper and markers, packs of playing cards or plastic cups, “Balancing Dove” printable, scissors, crayons and markers
- To help keep track of the names of God learned over this series, write each lesson’s name of God on the board along with the main idea. Tape a strip of paper over the name, and one over the main idea. Use this to review the lesson as you go. Alternatively, use large flash cards with the name of God on the front and the main idea on the back. Create one of these every week and review with the class as you go.
- Take time to meditate on this lesson and apply it to your own life. This is a tough lesson for me to live out. I get so overwhelmed with daily life, so nervous about my calling, so saddened by world news, that I let my stress overshadow the truth that God gives us peace. We face a scary world and busy lives. But we have no need to fear. When we trust God, he fills us with inexplicable peace. Reflect on the last time you experienced the peace of Jehovah Shalom. Thank him for that time and pray that he would fill you with peace. Look at Judges 6:14: “Then the Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!’” Write this verse down, but remove “and rescue Israel from the Midianites.” Replace that with your own Godly calling. Read it through slowly and with confidence. Does this fill you with peace and strength? Dear teacher, I pray that it does.
- Judges 6:1-24
- John 20:21
- Ephesians 6:15
- Philippians 4:6-7
- Numbers 6:24-26
Game: House of Cards, Cup Stacking Relay
To build a house of cards you need a calm, peaceful body. The class will practice peace as they build. To add a bit of competition to building a house of cards, see who can build the tallest tower in the shortest amount of time. If your class needs to play a game that gets their wiggles out before sitting down for the message, have them run a cup stacking relay. One player from each team runs across the room and adds one cup to their tower. This requires them to move quickly, and then act calmly to be sure their tower does not fall down in their haste to add more cups. Whatever game you choose, the purpose is to get the kids to practice peaceful bodies.
Message: Open in prayer, then say, I have loved learning about the names of God with you! We are almost halfway through our Names of God study. What are some of the things you have learned about over the past several weeks? (Take a few minutes to listen to your class and have them share what they remember from the past few weeks. Write the names of God that you have studied so far on the board. Elohim the Strong Creator; Yahweh, I AM; Adonai the Master; Abba Father; Consuming Fire, Jealous God.) Wow, you all have learned so much! Not only are you learning the names of God, you are learning what some of them are in the original language—Hebrew. Today’s name is in Hebrew too.
Today’s name is Yahweh Shalom. (Write Yahweh Shalom on the board.) We know that Yahweh is God’s special and holy name. Usually when you hear today’s name of God, and many of the names we will learn in the coming weeks, people say Jehovah instead of Yahweh. The reason why is kind of long and complicated. Basically, the word Jehovah is sort of a misspelling and a mispronunciation of Yahweh. So the word Jehovah stuck around and now is used in a lot of titles of God. Like today’s. Jehovah Shalom means “God is Peace.” Or, more specifically, Yahweh is Peace. I’ll use both Jehovah Shalom and Yahweh Shalom so you will become familiar with both terms. Now let’s find out where we see the name Yahweh Shalom in the Bible. It all starts with a guy named Gideon. Gideon was sort of a scaredy cat whom God used to rescue Israel from its enemies. You may follow along in your Bibles or close your eyes and listen quietly as I read from Judges 6:1-24.
“The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight. So the Lord handed them over to the Midianites for seven years. The Midianites were so cruel that the Israelites made hiding places for themselves in the mountains, caves, and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, marauders from Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east would attack Israel, camping in the land and destroying crops as far away as Gaza. They left the Israelites with nothing to eat, taking all the sheep, goats, cattle, and donkeys. These enemy hordes, coming with their livestock and tents, were as thick as locusts; they arrived on droves of camels too numerous to count. And they stayed until the land was stripped bare. So Israel was reduced to starvation by the Midianites. Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help.
When they cried out to the Lord because of Midian, the Lord sent a prophet to the Israelites. He said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of slavery in Egypt. I rescued you from the Egyptians and from all who oppressed you. I drove out your enemies and gave you their land. I told you, ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you now live.’ But you have not listened to me.”
Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!”
“Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.”
Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”
“But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”
The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”
Gideon replied, “If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me. Don’t go away until I come back and bring my offering to you.”
He answered, “I will stay here until you return.”
Gideon hurried home. He cooked a young goat, and with a basket of flour he baked some bread without yeast. Then, carrying the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, he brought them out and presented them to the angel, who was under the great tree.
The angel of God said to him, “Place the meat and the unleavened bread on this rock, and pour the broth over it.” And Gideon did as he was told. Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and bread with the tip of the staff in his hand, and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed all he had brought. And the angel of the Lord disappeared.
When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he cried out, “Oh, Sovereign Lord, I’m doomed! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!”
“It is all right,” the Lord replied. “Do not be afraid. You will not die.” And Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and named it Yahweh-Shalom (which means “the Lord is peace”). The altar remains in Ophrah in the land of the clan of Abiezer to this day.”
That was quite a lot of reading. Who can sum it up for me? (Have the class retell the story. Go through it with them, emphasizing points such as the fact the Gideon was hiding in what was basically a hole in the ground, doing a sweaty, hard job that would require wind to winnow the wheat from the chaff. The Lord, Yahweh spoke with him and called him a mighty warrior and called him to lead an army to defeat Israel’s enemy, the Midianites.) You all did a great job remembering this story! Even though this happened a long time ago, we can still learn important lessons for our lives, too. Judges 6:14 says, “Then the Lord turned to [Gideon] and said, ‘Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!’” God sends us too.
In John 20:21, after his resurrection, Jesus says to his disciples, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” God has a plan for all our lives. We are all supposed to love God and obey his commands and love and take care of our neighbors. We are sent into the world to tell everyone the good news about Jesus. This can be scary sometimes! What if people laugh or tease you because you are a Christian? What if God asks you to do something hard, like be a missionary or a pastor someday? We don’t have to worry. We don’t have to be afraid. God is with us. He is the God of Peace, Yahweh Shalom. (Write “God sends Peace” on the board next to “Yahweh Shalom.”) When we have God’s peace in our hearts, we can do anything God sends us to do! (On the board under “God sends Peace” write, “God sends us.”)
Can anyone tell me what peace means? (Allow students to define peace.) The dictionary says that peace is freedom from disturbance or freedom from war or violence. This is true, but the word Shalom in Hebrew means so much more than that. Shalom means to be free from disturbance, to be restful. It also means to be complete, whole, perfect. We know that God makes us whole and perfect by taking away our sins when we believe that Jesus died to save us from our sins. In Ephesians 6:15, we are told to “…put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.” The Good News about Jesus is the Gospel of Peace. We have peace in our hearts when we follow Jesus. (On the board under “God sends us” write, “God saves us.”)
So Jehovah Shalom sends us and saves us. That’s easy to say but honestly sometimes I still feel… unsettled. Worried. Unsure. Scared. I feel like a hurricane is inside me sometimes. These sorts of thoughts and feelings are not from God. Let’s have a sword drill to see how God helps us avoid these negative feelings. Take all fingers and bookmarks out of your Bibles and hold them above your head. When I say go, turn to Philippians 4:6-7. Go! (Read, or have a student read Philippians 4:6-7.) “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” When we are scared, restless, or worried, all we have to do is pray and thank God for the good things he has done in our lives. When we focus on God and the good things he does for us, an amazing thing happens. All the stress and all the worry melts away. The bad situation may not go away, but somehow, when you pray to God, he shields you with this amazing peace, more amazing than our little human brains can understand, and you will feel better. (On the board under “God saves us” write, “God shields us.” If you have time and if you feel lead, share an appropriate personal story about how you have experienced “God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.”)
One last point. The name Jehovah Shalom is found in the Old Testament, but we spent a lot of time talking about how peace comes through Jesus. The story of Jesus’ life is found in the New Testament, but there is a verse about him in the Old Testament that has to do with today’s lesson. Isaiah 9:6 says, “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Jesus is our Prince of Peace. Yahweh Shalom, the God who sends Peace, sent his one and only son Jesus to be the Prince of Peace, and to live a perfect life and to die for our sins so the when we trust in him the peace of God would live in our hearts forever. Yahweh Shalom sends us in peace, saves us in peace and shields us in peace. Before we do our craft, I leave you with a blessing from Numbers 6:24-26: “May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.”
Close in prayer.
Craft: Balancing Dove
This paper bird can balance on the tip of a finger when you are still. Explain that a dove is a symbol of peace. When they are finished with this craft, each student will have a dove that balances peacefully on the tip of their finger. (Or a pencil eraser, or the corner of a book…) The dove is peaceful, even though it is in what (if it were a real living thing) would be a scary situation: balancing on the edge of a finger. Our lives are like that sometimes. Sometimes we can feel nervous, like we are barely hanging on, barely balanced. But when we trust in Yahweh Shalom, we don’t need to be nervous no matter what our situation. He will give us peace. This little paper bird reminds us of that. Have the kids decorate their bird with Bible verses, phrases and pictures that remind them that the Lord sends peace. Then carefully cut the bird out and gently place its head on the tip of your finger.