Peace With Your Enemy

28 They replied, “We can plainly see that the Lord is with you. So we want to enter into a sworn treaty with you. Let’s make a covenant.
Genesis 26:28 (NLT)

We shall continue with the story of Isaac. In the previous 2 articles, we have seen how Isaac got rich when he was living in a poor country that was experiencing famine. His investment in farming yielded him 100 times returns every year and his animals were reproducing rapidly. His net worth took a drastic leap during famine because of the following factors:

1. Isaac’s inheritance of the Covenant of Abraham. God’ promises to Abraham are applicable to all his seeds. Isaac was Abraham’s seed.

2. Isaac’s obedience to God in not moving to a more prosperous country. He trusted in the blessing of God more than the natural circumstances.

3. Isaac’s commitment to sow seeds despite famine. He did not stay idle. He sowed and worked for his prosperity.

The above factors caused Isaac to be very rich. The good news for us is, these factors are available to us as well if we do what Isaac did.

Subsequently Isaac’s wealth was so huge that the locals got jealous and sabotaged him. Even the king could not stand him and threw him out. The harassment did not stop after Isaac left Gerar. The locals took over the wells he dug. However, Isaac did not give up. His engineer’s mind gave him the perseverance to keep digging until one day he got his own well. He settled there and continued to prosper.

In today’s story, Isaac moved to another place. There, God visited him again.

23 From there Isaac moved to Beersheba,
24 where the Lord appeared to him on the night of his arrival. “I am the God of your father, Abraham,” he said. “Do not be afraid, for I am with you and will bless you. I will multiply your descendants, and they will become a great nation. I will do this because of my promise to Abraham, my servant.”
25 Then Isaac built an altar there and worshiped the Lord. He set up his camp at that place, and his servants dug another well.
Genesis 26:23-25 (NLT)

God was there to remind Isaac of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac’s daddy. The contents are:

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you and will bless you. I will multiply your descendants, and they will become a great nation. I will do this because of my promise to Abraham, my servant.”

Let me arrange it into point forms:
1. Do not be afraid,
2. for I am with you and
3. will bless you.
4. I will multiply your descendants, and
5. they will become a great nation.
6. I will do this because of my promise to Abraham, my servant

God told Isaac not to be afraid. Why not? Isaac was not in Gerar at that time where there was at least some sort of functioning government in place. He was facing a lot of uncertainties at that time. It was easy to be afraid. There wasn’t any justice system there. You can dig a well and someone else can claim it and chase you away. You may have a huge flock but there could be bandits out there who could rob you of them. No wonder God was there to encourage him.

How can Isaac not be afraid? The answer is in Point 2 onwards. Isaac was not alone. God was with him and will bless him. As we have learned in the previous article when God blessed someone, He will make this person rich and adds no sorrow to it. Isaac was very rich at that time. He was so rich that even the king felt insecure to have him around and decided to throw him out. Yet God still wanted to bless him more.

This is the nature of our God. He does not know the word “enough”. If you are poor, he can bless you with 100 fold returns every year. He will make you so rich that your neighbors got jealous of you. Even the government will feel insecure in your presence. After you got very rich, God want you to be even richer. He does not know when to stop. Don’t you think it is great to have such a wonderful God? Religious people can never understand what a privilege it is to be a Christian.

In Point 4 and 5, God reaffirmed his promised to bless multiply Isaac’s descendants and they will become a great nation. Did God keep his promise? Look at the Jews who are Isaac’s natural descendents. Their population may be small in relation with other races but they are extremely influential. They have dominated every field of excellence may there be in literature, science, business, banking, art, politics and any other area you can think of. Why is that so? Do they have bigger brains? No, the only advantage they have over other races is the Covenant God made with Abraham. This Covenant makes them powerful. There was even a Muslim politician once said that the Jews ruled the world by proxy. This is the proof that God keeps his promises.

In Point 6, God highlighted the source of Isaac’s blessing – The Covenant Of Abraham. This means the blessings of God in Isaac’s life were based on the Covenant and not on Isaac’s personal performance. In fact, Isaac was not perfect himself. Earlier, he lied about his wife out of fear. Yet God did not hold it against him and even bailed him out of that sin.

As Christians we are the spiritual seeds of Abraham and we are equally entitled to the same blessing. Not only that, we also have the Covenant of the Cross where Jesus died for our sins. This is good for imperfect people like us. Our mistakes like our failure to fully holy in our thoughts and acts will not be able to block us from the blessings of God for us. We will be blessed despite our mistakes. So if you happen to be troubled by the mistakes you have made in the past, God wants you to let them go and start moving forward. Isaac himself had sinned but that did not stop him from getting extremely rich.

Let us move on with the story. After that Isaac got a visit from an old “friend”.

26 One day King Abimelech came from Gerar with his adviser, Ahuzzath, and also Phicol, his army commander.
27 “Why have you come here?” Isaac asked. “You obviously hate me, since you kicked me off your land.”
Genesis 26:26-27 (NLT)

The king came to visit Isaac together with his adviser and army commander. It looked quite formal. Isaac was not very pleased because he had a bad history with the king. That was the same king who kicked him off the land. The king was feeling insecure of Isaac’s wealth that he decided to throw Isaac out of his territory but now this same king decided to make a formal visit to Isaac’s house. What do you think had make the king bestowed such honor to Isaac? Here is his answer.

28 They replied, “We can plainly see that the Lord is with you. So we want to enter into a sworn treaty with you. Let’s make a covenant.
29 Swear that you will not harm us, just as we have never troubled you. We have always treated you well, and we sent you away from us in peace. And now look how the Lord has blessed you!”
Genesis 26:28-29 (NLT)

According to the king’s delegation, they could plainly see that the Lord was with Isaac. The question is, what did they see? Did the Lord appeared as a King Kong and stood beside Isaac’s house? No, they saw it through Isaac’s wealth. Isaac must have an exceeding big numbers of sheep, goats and cattle that no one can ever doubt that God must be with him.

Please note that when Isaac was first thrown out from the king’s territory, he was already very rich. He was so rich that his neighbors got jealous and made the king felt so insecure that he wanted Isaac to go away. However, at Verse 28-29 the king wanted to make a covenant with the same man he drove away. Why was that so? Isaac must be far richer that the king still felt insecure despite the fact that Isaac was no longer in his territory. This tells us that Isaac’s riches must have grown astronomically. If he was a millionaire when he was driven out by the king, he must be a billionaire by the time the king visited him.

Let me prove my theory on the insecurity of the king. In Verse 29, the king stated his request to Isaac:

“Swear that you will not harm us, just as we have never troubled you. We have always treated you well, and we sent you away from us in peace. And now look how the Lord has blessed you!”

What does this sound to you? Does the above sound like a powerful king issuing an order to a helpless farmer? No, it doesn’t. It sounds like someone begging for mercy. The king asked Isaac to swear not to harm his kingdom and stated the reasons that Isaac was not that badly treated when he was living there. The last part tells us the reason for the king’s fear, “And now look how the Lord has blessed you!”

Let me simplify the story here:
1. God has blessed Isaac as he had promised.
2. Isaac got so rich that everyone in the region was convinced beyond doubt that it was the blessing from God.
3. The king was convinced that the blessing of God had made Isaac more powerful than him despite the fact that the only people under Isaac’s command were shepherds and servants.
4. So, the king paid a personal visit to Isaac and begged him for a peace treaty. He wanted Isaac to swear not to attack him.

This story tells us why Christians must be extremely rich. If Isaac was not extremely rich, the king would not have begged him for peace. He could have been continued to face harassment from the locals. Now that the king himself came to beg for peace, I am sure those locals would not dare to disturb Isaac and his household again. As Christians, we have to be extremely rich to bring peace.

How did Isaac respond? He took advantage on the king’s diplomatic efforts.

30 So Isaac prepared a covenant feast to celebrate the treaty, and they ate and drank together.
31 Early the next morning, they each took a solemn oath not to interfere with each other. Then Isaac sent them home again, and they left him in peace.
Genesis 26:30-31 (NLT)

He conducted a feast and took a solemn oath with his guests on not interfering with each other. The peace treaty was signed. Isaac and his household were able to live in peace and prosperity for the rest of his life.

Advertisements

One Response to “Peace With Your Enemy”

  1. orlando sacman Says:

    dear friend,
    I was to read your encouraging message and its good.
    Thank you so much i am so blessed with your article.
    I am from Philippines leading a small church here and pioneering, my members are around 30 to 45 persons.
    Please include me in your prayer time. God bless and more power and blessing


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: