Friday, July 26, 2013

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

The peace of Highlands Hammock
     Have you ever been a referee?  I would suspect that if you are a parent or a grandparent you have been called in to settle a dispute, decide who can sit in the front seat next to you (presuming they are old enough to be out of a child safety seat), who can have the last ice cream bar, and my all time favorite, "He's looking at me Mom!"  I remember those days well while we were raising our four and now we have the blessing of assisting as "back-up" referees for our grandchildren.  Part of parenting is learning to prevent things from escalating into a major fight.  However, it isn't just the family that at times need a "peace keeper".  There can also be arguments among those in the faith as well, and Jesus called us to be peacemakers.
     In I Samuel 25:2-35, there is a wonderful story about a woman who prevented the future king from committing murder.  She brought peace when things were about to explode. Please take a moment to read this scripture.
     Within this passage, we see David and his men seeking food from a nearby landowner named Nabal.  David has helped to protect this man's flock from bandits and felt that Nabal might want to provide some food for his men in return.  However, Nabal was not a wise man and refused to help them thus insulting David and his men.
     David's anger began to burn, and he decided to take his own revenge for this insult.  Isn't this like a lot of us?  When someone wrongs us, don't we feel the urge rise within us to get even?  At this point, David calls his men together to go after Nabal and destroy both his property and his life.
     When a servant tells Abigail how her husband has treated David and his men, she prepares food enough to take care of them.  Her words were kind, humble and caring.  She reminds David that the Lord is using him to fight His battles.  She also points out that he must keep a clear conscience in order to serve the Lord.  This is a bold woman who has intervened in a difficult situation in order to make peace.  Not only does she go before someone she has never met before, but she speaks truth in a gentle manner putting her own life at risk.  Because David had a heart for God, he listens to her wise counsel and considers the absurdity of what he is about to do.  In the end, destruction is avoided.
     What makes Abigail such a special person?  She is a peacemaker who helps David see the bigger picture.  Her intervention prevents violence.  Her wisdom allows David to hear the Lord and see God's will in the situation.  Later, we know that Abigail becomes a wife to David.
     This entire incident points to the importance for all of us,  as much as possible, " to
be at peace with all men" (I Thess. 5:13).  Likewise we are all called to the ministry of reconciliation in Christ.  When we are able, we are to bring peace between brothers and sisters in Christ.  Jesus said to us "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God."  Let us strive to be Abigail's in our home, our work, our churches and our communities.  The world is full of those who want to fight and who call for revenge, but we have been called to a higher position in Christ - that of making peace in a strife torn world.  Selah!

The picture is courtesy of Cathy Hardesty in her collection from Highlands Hammock State Park.

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