Dwelling In Peace

Gene H. Miller

"If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Romans 12:18.

Dwelling with the Philistines. There was a famine in the land, and Isaac went down to dwell with the Philistines. Much like his father, Abraham, he was afraid for his life and lied about Rebekah his wife, saying that she was his sister. When King Abimelech learned the truth, he mildly rebuked Isaac and charged his people to treat them kindly. In spite of all this, Isaac prospered while in the land of the Philistines, and his possession of flocks and herds and his store of servants became very great, so much so that the Philistines envied him.

Redigging the Wells. Whether out of envy or out of fear, Abimelech's attitude toward Isaac changed, and he asked Isaac to leave, "for thou art much mightier than we."(Genesis 26:16). Isaac moved to the valley of Gerar, where Abraham had dwelt earlier. Needing water, he dug, again, the wells that his father Abraham had dug, wells that the Philistines had stopped. However, the herdmen of Gerar claimed the wells as theirs, so Isaac moved and dug another well. The herdmen claimed that one also, so Isaac, the peacemaker, moved again. This time his servants dug a well that they could claim as their own.

Back to Canaan. Seeing the Lord was with Isaac (Genesis 26:28), Abimelech came to Isaac once more, desiring conditions of peace. After the terms of the covenant were agreed upon and confirmed with a feast, "Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace." (Genesis 26:31). All Isaac knew in the land of the Philistines was strife and contention. Not until he separated himself from them did he find peace.

Paul and Barnabas. When Paul and Barnabas were planning their second missionary journey, they disagreed over taking John Mark. "And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other." (Acts 15:39). Did they disagree over matters of faith? Was one right and the other wrong? Were there hard feelings between them? Apparently not, for Paul later said that Mark was profitable unto him. (2 Timothy 4:11) Things worked out for good (as God has promised in Romans 8:28), for then there were two mission teams in the field instead of one. Paul and Barnabas were not in competition with one another but used their own talents, blessings, and opportunities in their own way for a common cause: the spread of the gospel and the salvation of souls.

Having Gifts Differing. "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." (1 Peter 4:10) Which is most important in a table setting, the knife, the fork, or the spoon? That all depends on what you are eating. There is a place and a purpose for each. Is it not also true within the body of Christ? "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ." (1 Corinthians 12:12). There is beauty and harmony when each member is allowed to fulfill his or her God-given purpose within the body of Christ.

There are many different colors in a box of crayons. Each has a place. Would a rainbow be as beautiful were it all one color? -3281 Rosedale Road, Shock WV 26638-8410. 304 462-0384. E-Mail: ghmiller@rtol.net


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