I’ve struggled with including this story, because I feel as if we are creeping along in Genesis, but the Lord has reminded me that he put it here for a purpose. It seems so not a part of the story of the nation, and yet, isn’t that how our lives are? We’re in the middle of one challenge, when another one comes our way.
Abraham finally has his son and the promises of God feel like they are about to happen. Even the ruler Abimelech recognizes it, saying. “God is with you in all that you do.” And he wants to get in on a good thing.
But there is an issue between them. Abimelech’s servants had seized Abraham’s well. Abimelech didn’t even know it had happened. Instead of Abimelech making amends, Abraham was the one to give Abimelech sheep and oxen so that they could have peace.
I see two principles. First, God wants us to tell others when they have hurt us, especially if they seem unaware of it. It something stands between us, we can’t get past it until it is acknowledged. Honesty is a good thing.
Recently, Roger and I had a good, hard, conversation. As a woman, there have been times when I have felt “less than.” We grew up and served in cultures which reinforced the leadership of the man in marriage, of which I don’t disagree. But there have been times when Roger’s leadership left me feeling as if I shouldn’t enter into a conversation as an equal but needed to defer. Like Abimelech, Roger was totally unaware.
Secondly, sometimes God wants us to make the first move to give sacrificially to the other person in order to have peace. In this case, Abraham gave to Abimelech in a way that the truth about the well could never doubted.
This is harder than being honest. Usually, we want our wrong to be righted, to have the other person apologize, to make retribution to us. But sometimes, God is asking us to go over and beyond forgiveness, to blessing, blessing those who have wronged us.
God wants us to live in peace. Abraham planted a tree at the spot where they made peace. And he “called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God.” He knew that someday all the land would be the land of his people. But they needed peace to get to that time and place.
Who does God want me to go beyond forgiveness and bless today?