Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, “The Lord Is Peace.” (Judges 6:24)
After Gideon realized he had seen the Angel of the Lord face to face, he feared for his life. The Lord comforted him by saying, “Peace be with you; do not fear.” One of the paradoxes of the Christian life is that the Lord gives us peace that He might send us out to war! In response, Gideon built an altar to worship God, which he called YHWH Shalom: The-Lord-Is-Peace.
The same night, the Lord instructed Gideon to tear down the community altar of Baal on his father’s property and build an altar to the Lord in its place. Gideon’s first altar was a private altar of worship, and this next altar was a public altar of testimony. The order is significant. The Apostle Peter tells us that we also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God (1 Pet. 2:5). He goes on to say that we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9). We are a holy priesthood and a royal priesthood. As holy priests, we enter the sanctuary of heaven by faith to worship. As royal priests, we go out into the world to witness.
We can’t expect to be effective witnesses for the Lord Jesus without first spending time with Him in prayer and the word of God. We need to be transformed ourselves if we are to reflect His image to a needy world (2 Cor. 3:18). We must be sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit in order to be vessels of honor, useful for the Master (2 Tim. 2:21). Remember when Paul and Silas were in prison? At midnight, they prayed and sang hymns to God as holy priests, and following the earthquake they preached the gospel to the jailer as royal priests! We see the same pattern when the Lord Jesus appointed the apostles: Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him [as holy priests] and that He might send them out to preach [as royal priests] (Mk. 3:14).