Family Bible Study lesson for June 16: God Wants Me to Live in Peace
May 31 2002 by James Baldwin , Genesis 26:17-31

Family Bible Study lesson for June 16: God Wants Me to Live in Peace | Friday, May 31, 2002

Friday, May 31, 2002

Family Bible Study lesson for June 16: God Wants Me to Live in Peace

By James Baldwin Genesis 26:17-31

Life is full of injustices. A friend of mine once took a load of logs to be cut at a sawmill. When he returned to collect the cut lumber, half of it had been sold to someone else.

Another friend sold a car to a man and signed the title over to him, yet was never paid for the vehicle.

People of the world urged my friends to take these villains to court. Instead my friends walked away from the situation, leaving the culprits to deal with their guilt. They may have lost something in material terms, but they gained something far more valuable. They gained the peace that comes from knowing they had done nothing to hinder their witness for God.

Conflict (Genesis 26:17-22) Isaac discovered how unjust people could be. On two separate occasions he had his servants dig wells to provide water for his family. Local herdsmen came and insisted that the wells were rightfully theirs. Isaac could have stood up for his rights. After all, he had dug the wells. His family had already established a homestead there.

Rather than fight this battle and live in constant conflict, Isaac turned the other cheek and dug another well.

There are some battles worth fighting but few of them have anything to do with possessions or property. I have seen families divided over furniture and real estate, placing stuff over relationships. It is true that our friends and family are the only things we can take with us to heaven.

Assurance (Genesis 26:23-25) God was obviously pleased with the decision Isaac made to avoid conflict. "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" (Rom. 12:18). God promised to reward Isaac's faithfulness by increased blessings and numerous descendants.

So often we go though life clutching on to what we have that we leave no room for God to bless us. When we approach life open-handed - willing to give, willing to share, even willing to lose - then God is able to fill our hands. He will not always give us more stuff, but He will give us peace and contentment. As Paul said, "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want" (Phil. 4:12).

Resolution (Genesis 26:26-31) Abimelech, the king of the Philistines, was moved by Isaac's behavior. He, no doubt, had heard of the encounters regarding the wells. He saw how God had blessed Isaac for his willingness to turn the other cheek. He came to Isaac, wanting some of what Isaac had.

I love the following story found on the front of a greeting card: A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later, he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.

"I've been thinking," he said. "I know how valuable this stone is but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me this stone."

Abimelech stretched the truth by claiming that he and his people had "always treated you well and sent you away in peace." Isaac saw no need to set the record straight. He was willing to forgive and to live in peace with his neighbor.

Before we can live peaceably with others, we have to be willing to forgive past hurts and wrongs. We are afraid to let someone "off the hook" when they have wronged us in some way.

The truth is that the one with an unforgiving heart is the one "on the hook." We are freed to move forward only when we forgive.

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5/31/2002 12:00:00 AM by James Baldwin , Genesis 26:17-31 | with 0 comments
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