“Abraham then gave some of his sheep, goats, and cattle to Abimelech, and they made a treaty.”Genesis 21:27 (NLT)
We live in a divided world. I have heard it said that our nation has not been this divided since the Civil War. But the fault lines of division are not only political; they run through churches and families as well. People separate over differences of opinion and won’t speak to each other. Making up is hard to do. King Solomon put it this way:
“A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle.”Proverbs 18:19 (NKJV)
Can relationships that have gone wrong ever be put right? In the story of Abraham and Abimelech, we see how to make peace and restore a broken relationship.
Previously, Abraham lied to Abimelech, telling him that Sarah was his sister. So Abimelech took Sarah into his harem. But God appeared to him in a dream saying that Sarah was Abraham’s wife and that he was as good as dead if he did not return her. So Abimelech confronted Abraham, saying, “Why did you tell me she was your sister?” Then he gave Sarah back to him along with many gifts for compensation. Abimelech also told Abraham that he could dwell in the land, and Abraham prayed for him. But undoubtedly the relationship was strained. Abimelech did not feel that he could trust Abraham.
The first move
Abimelech kept a watchful eye on Abraham and could see that God was blessing him. Abraham was becoming stronger, and Abimelech wanted to protect his posterity. So he sought to make a treaty with Abraham. Abimelech brought the commander of his army, and he pressed Abraham to swear not to deceive him nor his descendants but to treat them with the same kindness that he had been shown. Abraham swore that he would do this.
But Abraham had an issue that was bothering him. Abimelech’s servants had seized a well that Abraham had dug. So Abraham addressed this with him. Abimelech replied, “This is the first I’ve heard of it!”
Abraham then gave Abimelech a gift of sheep and oxen, and the two men made a covenant. In addition, Abraham gave Abimelech seven ewe lambs to claim ownership of the well. Then they called the place Beersheba, which means “well of seven” or “well of the oath”. Abraham showed that he was willing to sacrifice to make peace with Abimelech and to make a friend.
Making up is hard to do. Our contentions are like bars of a castle. But if we are willing to make the first move, then there is hope. It will cost you something. It may cost you your pride to sincerely admit you were wrong. It may cost you money to present a goodwill gift or to make restitution. But Jesus was the ultimate peacemaker who paid the ultimate price to make peace with us and God. And He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.”
Do you have a strained or broken relationship with someone? Are you willing to take the first step? Pray that God shows you how to make peace and bring reconciliation. Then just do it!
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Photo by Alex Green
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