You Can Be a Peacemaker
Note: The sources given at the end of each point link to the Biblical verses.
Abraham made a difference by:
- Establishing the belief in one God, or monotheism, when all those around him were polytheists, believing in lots of gods. Gen. 12:1, 2; 15:6; 17:1-8
- Finding solutions to disputes and graciously giving his nephew, Lot, the first pick of the land. Gen. 13:7-12
- Showing the power of God to heal. Abraham prayed for Abimelech, his wife, and his household. This is the first healing based solely on prayer to God recorded in the Bible. Gen. 20:6, 7, 17
- Stopping human sacrifice among those who followed one God. Gen. 22:1-18
- Demonstrating absolute faith in God. He was willing to leave a very prosperous life, equivalent to living in a mansion today, to "back-pack," or set up tents, in the desert. Gen. 12:4-8
Here are a few simple things you can do (inspired by Abraham) to help make a difference in other people's lives:
- Be a peacemaker like Abraham who stopped arguments between his men and Lot's men. The next time you happen to get into an argument with a friend or family member, yield. Stop arguing. Make it a win-win situation. Either agree to disagree, or find something about the other's point with which you can truly agree. You'll be surprised how the other person will react. Ask yourself, "Is it more important to convince someone that I'm right, which makes them wrong, or to be kind and help find the middle-ground?" Continue to ask yourself this question every time you start to argue.
- Be a friend like Abraham who let Lot choose where to live. When the opportunity arises, let your friends, siblings, or parents choose the next movie, TV show, activity, or vacation. You don't have to do this all the time. But putting others' opinions and desires above your own will make a positive difference and doesn't leave you out of the fun, if you act from the heart.
- Be a healer like Abraham who healed Abimelech and his household. If there is someone in your family, church, school, or neighborhood, who is not feeling well, ask that individual if you can pray for him or her. If the answer is yes, then pray to God with all your heart and trust His power to heal.
The following numbered Bible passages correspond to and explain the above points regarding how Abraham (whose name was Abram before God changed it to Abraham) made a difference. Passages are from the King James Version unless noted that they are from The Message by Eugene Peterson.
- Genesis 12:1, 2 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
The Message Gen. 15:6 And he [Abram] believed! Believed God! God declared him "Set-Right-with-God."
Gen. 17:1-8 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
- Gen. 13:7-12 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
- Background: Abimelech, the king of Gerar, took Sarah (thinking that she was Abraham's sister), with the intention of sleeping with her. Abimelech's wife and all his maidservants were not able to have children. This was a very serious problem. But God stopped Abilmelech from committing the crime of sleeping with another man's wife. Here's the result:
Gen. 20:6, 7, 17 And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live…. So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.
- Gen. 22:1-18 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen. And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
- The Message Gen. 12:4-8
So Abram left just as GOD said, and Lot left with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot with him, along with all the possessions and people they had gotten in Haran, and set out for the land of Canaan and arrived safe and sound.
Abram passed through the country as far as Shechem and the Oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites occupied the land.
GOD appeared to Abram and said, "I will give this land to your children." Abram built an altar at the place GOD had appeared to him.
He moved on from there to the hill country east of Bethel and pitched his tent between Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. He built an altar there and prayed to GOD.
Abram kept moving….
"Scripture quotations from THE MESSAGE. Copyright (c) by Eugene H. Peterson 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group."