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Praying for Peace

Words of Faith Final

Praying for Peace
Words of Faith 4-19-2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2022
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Genesis 21
    [22] At that time Abimelech 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 are living as an alien the same kindness I have shown to you."
    [24] Abraham said, "I swear it."
    [25] Then Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well of water that Abimelech's servants had seized. [26] But Abimelech 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 Abimelech, and the two men made a treaty. [28] Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs from the flock, [29] and Abimelech 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, because the two men swore an oath there.
    [32] After the treaty had been made at Beersheba, Abimelech 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 upon the name of the Lord, the Eternal God. [34] And Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time.

        The striking feature of this passage is the explanation of the name of Beersheba, the home of Abraham. This name will always reflect the covenant the patriarch made with the residents of the land, which enabled him to dwell there in peace and prosperity.
        This is a fascinating and timely passage. A promise and a treaty mark the relationship between Abraham and the Philistines. What was this about?
        Abraham had found himself dealing with a "Philistine" king named Abimelech. Interestingly, "Philistine" is the word from which the name "Palestine" was made. In spite of this treaty, the Philistines would later become a constant enemy and thorn in the side of Israel.
      The Romans renamed the Holy Land of Israel "Palestine" (after their longtime enemies) after the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. This was done as a way of demoralizing the Jewish people. Calling the Holy Land "Palestine," as many books do, is geographically correct, but it also dignifies the effort of the Romans to obliterate God's chosen people. I prefer to call the land... Israel.
        Here we see a promise and a treaty. Abimelech recognized that God was with Abraham and asked for a promise. Abraham promised not to deal falsely with Abimelech or his children and to show them the same kindness they had been shown.
         In return, Abraham asked about a well he had dug that had been seized by the Philistines. Abraham and Abimelech made a treaty of peace at this place and named it "Beersheba," which means "well of seven" or "well of the oath."  This treaty allowed Abraham to settle in the land in peace and for Abimelech to share in the blessing of God.  
        Interestingly, a treaty of peace such as this is so desperately needed today! I could not help but think if only the descendants of the Philistines would recognize that God is with the descendants of Abraham! If only the descendants of Abraham would seek to never deal falsely with the descendants of the Philistines. If only both sides could treat one another kindly. If only the land promised by God to Israel would be peacefully acknowledged.
        These are days in which to pray for peace in our world. Terrible tyrants have put helpless people at needless risk. Those with the means to flee do so, but the poor remain behind in fear. Hideous regimes are confronted only at a high cost. It is a time to pray for the safety of civilians and for their liberation. Pray for our President and world leaders as they face these most difficult decisions.

         God of Peace, bring Your Shalom to this world. Give us the peace, which surpasses all understanding, to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Give us the words to share the Gospel of Peace. Hear our prayers. In Jesus' name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)        
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2022 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.