MATURING IN FAITH
Light of True Light, draw me to You. May I glow with the joy of Your salvation, which is the light of the world.
Read GENESIS 21:22–34
The Treaty at Beersheba
22 At that time Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do. 23 Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you now reside as a foreigner the same kindness I have shown to you.”
24 Abraham said, “I swear it.”
25 Then Abraham complained to Abimelek about a well of water that Abimelek’s servants had seized. 26 But Abimelek said, “I don’t know who has done this. You did not tell me, and I heard about it only today.”
27 So Abraham brought sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelek, and the two men made a treaty. 28 Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs from the flock, 29 and Abimelek asked Abraham, “What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs you have set apart by themselves?”
30 He replied, “Accept these seven lambs from my hand as a witness that I dug this well.”
31 So that place was called Beersheba,[a] because the two men swore an oath there.
32 After the treaty had been made at Beersheba, Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces returned to the land of the Philistines. 33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God. 34 And Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time.
- Genesis 21:31 Beersheba can mean well of seven and well of the oath.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Worship God for His devotion to you as you journey in your Christian faith. Thank Him that His devotion is not dependent on what you do, but on who He is.
Entering into a partnership or covenant with a person whom you have previously wronged may appear foolhardy. Yet Abraham demonstrates the integrity of the peacemaker in performing such an act. Abimelek recognizes that God’s favor rests upon Abraham (22). It is on that basis that he asks Abraham to make an oath of fair play – and Abraham agrees. Abraham also explains that Abimelek’s servants have wronged him. Nevertheless, Abraham wants to be a blessing to Abimelek and he makes peace with him. Abraham’s response to Abimelek is not a case of keeping peace, or peace at any price. Rather, it is a case of making peace with Abimelek in God’s name and living in peace with him despite past incidents. God is pleased when we make peace with others, regardless of who is right or wrong.1
As Abraham journeys with God, a more thoughtful man is beginning to emerge. With a maturity exceeding that in previous encounters, Abraham does not retaliate by insisting that Abimelek should have known what his servants were doing. He displays exceeding generosity in giving Abimelek sheep, oxen, and lambs as he and Abimelek make a covenant together (vs 28–31). This is another test, stretching Abraham beyond previous encounters – all junctures of learning and preparation preceding the biggest test of his faith, which is yet to come. What can we learn from the complex character and nature of Abraham with his flaws? Resisting the temptation to retaliate in verbal self-defense or refutation could be what is needed to be the peacemaker in a challeng-ing situation or encounter, even if, as per Abraham, we may be culpable in some way. We are not defined by the challenging situations or people that we encounter, but by our responses to them.
Father, help me in my journey of faith to recognize that my responses to people and situations can help me to grow in Christlikeness.
Thank You, Father, for Your forgiveness, wisdom, power, and love. May these gifts be actualized in my life.
1 Matt 5:9