“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”
Many in our society today frown on people who try to keep the peace, perceiving them as weak or timid for not standing up and fighting for their “rights.” While we don’t want to let others treat us like a doormat, we also don’t have to assert ourselves every time someone upsets us.
In Genesis 26 we see an example of a peacemaker in Isaac (although later we see that Isaac isn’t much of a peacemaker within his own family). Isaac has been blessed by God–just as his father Abraham–with many flocks, herds, crops, and servants. His wealth and prosperity earn him the envy and violence of his neighbors, the Philistines, who stop up his wells out of jealousy. Wells were the primary water source in the desert region: the sole means for watering livestock and supplying the people encamped in the area. By plugging up Isaac’s wells, the Philistines were essentially threatening Isaac to either move on or fight. Isaac certainly had recourse to fight back when the Philistines ruined his wells, but what did he do?
Isaac kept the peace.
In two different locations, Isaac dug new wells, and each time the local people quarreled with him about ownership of the water source. After the first dispute, Isaac simply dug another well (26:21). But after the second argument, he moved on (26:22). After digging a third well and finding a fresh source of water, “no one quarreled over it.”
Like his father, Abraham, who generously offered Lot his choice of land when their herdsmen were fighting, Isaac compromises his own happiness in order to keep the peace among his neighbors.
It’s ironic, too, that afterwards, the Philistine leader Abimelech approaches Isaac for a peace treaty with him: after all, it is the Philistines who have been the ones creating conflict for Isaac, not the other way around. Still, Abimelech saw that the Lord was with Isaac and was blessing him, and they feared Isaac’s God.
Again, how does Isaac respond? Does he drag up all the bad things from the past that the Philistines have done to him and send Abimelech away? No!
Instead, we learn in verse 30 that Isaac made a feast for them: he had a party to celebrate their new relationship. Then, the two parties swore an oath of peace and went on their way.
Do you attempt to assert YOUR rights over the rights of others, or are you willing to give up your own desire for happiness for the happiness of others?
“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
Blessings to you!
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