Pastor’s Desk April 13th

Scripture Passage:  “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”  Proverbs 16:7

Dear Friends,

     The Scripture today is a good reminder that the whole duty of man is to love God, live to please Him, and to enjoy His presence.  If we live to please God does it mean we will not have enemies?  The Apostle Paul says in II Timothy 3:12, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”  It seems as if one Scripture contradicts the other, but that is not the case.  A good illustration concerning this truth is found in Genesis 26 and relates to the life of Abraham’s son, Isaac. 
 

     During a time of famine, Isaac traveled with Rebekah and his family into Gerar in the land of the Philistines.  When asked about his beautiful wife Rebekah, Isaac pulled one of his father’s stunts and told them she was his sister out of fear they would kill him.  When king Abimelech found out about Isaac’s lie, he was upset and issued a decree that anyone who touched Isaac or Rebekah would be put to death.  As he continued to live in the land of Gerar, Isaac prospered until he became very wealthy and the envy of the Philistines.   Abimelech eventually expelled Isaac and his entourage out of the country.  Isaac settled in the Valley of Gerar and began to unstop the wells the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham.  Each time Isaac’s herdsmen would open a well and find flowing water, the Philistine herdsmen of Gerar would quarrel with them and claim the water for themselves.  This happened three times.  Two of those times Isaac and his herdsmen moved on and re-dug another well.  The third time the contention ceased and they were able to settle down.  They named the first well, Esek/Quarrel.  The second they named Sitnah/Enmity.  The third they name Rehoboth/Spaciousness meaning that God had made room for them.  Once again Isaac and his family began to prosper.  They became fruitful in the land and built an altar there and called upon the name of the Lord.  It was not long until King Abimelech, his friend Ahuzzah, and Phichol the commander of the army showed up at Isaac’s tent door. 

     “Why have you come to me, seeing you hate me, and have sent me away from you?” asked Isaac.  Listen to King Abimelech’s reply.  “We have certainly seen that the Lord is with you.  So we said, Let there now be an oath between us, between you and us; and let us make a covenant with you, that you will do us no harm, since we have not touched you, and since we have done nothing to you but good and have sent you away in peace.  You are now the blessed of the Lord.”  So Isaac prepared a feast where they ate and drank and swore an oath with one another. Afterwards Isaac sent them away and they departed from him in peace.  They were no more friends afterward than they were before, they simply agreed to live in peace with each other.  God blessed Isaac again when his herdsmen found the seventh well and cleaned it out.  To commemorate the occasion, Isaac named the place Beersheba – The Well of the Oath.

     We cannot always keep trouble from coming our way, but the way we handle the situation will go far in how our neighbors and society perceive us.  Isaac was done wrong by Abimelech and the Philistine herdsmen.  They even waited until Isaac’s herdsmen unstopped the wells before they claimed them.  Abimelech could have made a covenant with Isaac before he threw him out of the country, but he acted hastily and probably suffered because of it.  This was a time of great famine and everywhere Isaac went was blessed with grass and water.  He would have been better off having Isaac right there with him.  So the next time you meet with an unwarranted challenge, just do what you believe will please God and move on.  In the end, even your enemies will live in peace with you.

In Christ,

Pastor Johnny