Peace with Abimelech Back to all sermons

Genesis

Date: November 25, 2018

Speaker: Sean Grossman

Series: Genesis

Scripture: Genesis 21:22–21:34

  • Genesis 21:22-34
  • Peace with Abimelech
  • Genesis 21:22-24

22 At that time Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his army said to Abraham, “God is with you in all that you do. 23 Now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my descendants or with my posterity, but as I have dealt kindly with you, so you will deal with me and with the land where you have sojourned.” 24 And Abraham said, “I will swear.”

  • Genesis 21:25-34

25 When Abraham reproved Abimelech about a well of water that Abimelech's servants had seized, 26 Abimelech said, “I do not know who has done this thing; you did not tell me, and I have not heard of it until today.” 27 So Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two men made a covenant. 28 Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock apart. 29 And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs that you have set apart?” 30 He said, “These seven ewe lambs you will take from my hand, that this may be a witness for me that I dug this well.” 31 Therefore that place was called Beersheba, because there both of them swore an oath. 32 So they made a covenant at Beersheba. Then Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his army rose up and returned to the land of the Philistines. 33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called there on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God. 34 And Abraham sojourned many days in the land of the Philistines.

  • Main Point
  • These verses establish the covenant made between Abraham and Abimelech
  • Abimelech recognizes God is with Abraham
  • Abraham makes a tweak, in that he gets back his well
  • The two make a covenant of peace with one another
  • God is the One who provides, as both Abimelech and Abraham recognize God in the circumstance
  • Application Points
  • Peace
  • Peace between Abraham and Abimelech (and their offspring)
  • In some ways there were two things that blocked peace
  • First, Abraham’s past
  • Wouldn’t we ask the same if we were Abimelech?
  • The other deterrent was Abimelech, whose servants had taken the well Abraham had dug
  • Abimelech wanted Abraham to deal fairly, Abraham wanted his well back
  • An ultimatum was reached, and Abraham did take the oath, and Abimelech gave the well back
  • Once this occurs, a treaty is reached, and with that peace
  • Application Points
  • Peace (2)
  • How often is it the case that something we do causes us to not have peace?
  • So many different scenarios which cane take away peace
  • It was a sin in Abraham’s part to have concerns
  • Likewise, it was a theft on Abimelech’s people
  • We shouldn’t be surprised at finding this to be the case
  • When we remember how destructive sin is, then one of the casualties is peace itself
  • How do we get peace back?
  • Is it possible for us to find peace?
  • Application Points
  • Peace (3)
  • The prophet asks the same, The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treats on them knows peace.” Isaiah 59:8
  • As it is, our text today does have an answer
  • God personally intervened on Abraham’s behalf twice
  • Abimelech is able to see the blessing of God, and that cause him to want to have peace with Abraham
  • We see it further with Abraham’s response
  • “El Elyon” that is, “God Everlasting”
  • Not only a treaty with Abimelech the king, but his descendants as well
  • How is it possible for Abraham or Abimelech to uphold the covenant?
  • Application Points
  • Peace (4)
  • The only One who could is God Himself, whom the oath is sworn before
  • It is only because God is limitless, beyond all, that the covenant can be upheld
  • It is possible for us to find peace in God
  • When we acknowledge the Creator of the universe we find the greatest of peace through Him
  • Yet we must be cautious because there is a false peace
  • As Ezekiel proclaims…

“Therefore says the Lord God: “Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you, declares the Lord God. My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord God. Precisely because they have misled my people, saying, ‘peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when the people build a wall, these prophets smear it with whitewash, say to those who smear it with whitewash that it shall fall! There will be a deluge of rain, and you, O great hailstones, will fall, and a stormy wind break out.”

-Ezekiel 13:8-11

  • Application Points
  • Peace (5)
  • The prophets were proclaiming a false peace
  • They were telling the people they had peace, but it was false because it was not with God
  • They claimed to be speaking for God, and yet God did not speak
  • Jeremiah makes a similar proclamation…

“How can you say, ‘we are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie. The wise men shall be put to shame; they shall be dismayed and taken; behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord, so what wisdom is in them? Therefore I will give their wives to others and their fields to conquerors, because from the least to the greatest everyone is greedy for unjust gain; from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying ‘peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among the fallen; when I punish them, they shall be overthrown, says the Lord.”

-Jeremiah 8:8-12

  • Application Points
  • Peace (6)
  • There are lies, deceptions, greed, injustice, unrighteousness, abominations
  • And yet the people were told, “peace”
  • Thus we need to be cautious of a false peace
  • A false peace is that which is willing to sacrifice righteousness, justice, and truth, for the sake of peace
  • This is a peace built on the finest of sand
  • We need to find a more lasting peace, which only comes from God
  • If we were to make peace with the world, what would it gain us if we had no peace with God?
  • To find peace with the world is to have enmity and strife with God
  • Consider what Christ proclaims…

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth, I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

-Matthew 10:34-39

  • Application Points
  • Peace (7)
  • Christ reminds us of the necessity to find peace with God
  • It is not enough to make peace with others just for the sake of peace
  • How do we find such peace? What can we do to attain it?
  • There is nothing we can do
  • Like Abraham and Abimelech we must recognize it will come from God alone
  • Thus we read from Isaiah…

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—everyone—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

-Isaiah 53:4-6

  • Application Points
  • Peace (8)
  • Who is this? Who was this prophecy looking forward to?
  • The answer is Christ Jesus
  • As the author of Hebrews says, ““Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead of our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21
  • Application Points
  • Peace (9)
  • It is Christ
  • He is the One who came, the One whose blood has been spilled
  • Because of what Christ has done we have it
  • We can seek righteousness, justice, mercy, holiness, and peace for the glory of our Father in heaven through Jesus Christ
  • He has done
  • It should not surprise us, then, when we read from John…

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now, I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.”

-John 14:27-31.

  • Application Points
  • Peace (10)
  • Christ gives peace
  • In all of who we are there is peace with our God
  • This peace cannot come from our blood stained hands
  • God has done it, He accomplished it through Jesus
  • Let us not falter now
  • There will be many who tell us to compromise on our faith for the sake of peace
  • There will be many who say, “We must in order to win the world!”
  • I say, let us not grieve God, let us seek peace with Him above all by being faithful to Him
  • Application Points
  • Peace (11)
  • There is so much in us that would rather compromise than continue on in the faith
  • There is so much which we believe could be done…if only we didn’t proclaim Jesus
  • This peace, however, is made more manifest when we cling to Jesus
  • It is when we compromise Christ, then false peace comes
  • Does this scare us? That’s alright because Jesus says, I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
  • Application Points
  • Peace (12)
  • Christ has overcome the world!
  • If the world will not have peace with us, so be it, we lose nothing
  • If through Christ we have peace with our God, we gain everything
  • In this we say…seek peace, but let it not compromise the faith
  • Seek peace, but let it not cost us righteous, holiness, or truth
  • Seek a peace which only comes from our God, through Christ Jesus, and know the greatest of peace now and forever
  • Application Points
  • The Gospel of Christ
  • Origins
  • Fall
  • Redemption
  • Glorification