Have you ever seen someone’s response to something, or read something in the Bible and thought, “Boy, if that had been me I’d have…?” That’s kind of how I felt as I read about Isaac and the wells he dug.
First of all, I am reminded that Isaac wasn’t there by choice. There was a famine, and the king told him to get out of Dodge. “This town ain’t big enough for the both of us.” So Isaac packs up and leaves. Just like that.
It’s got to be hard moving all those people and animals and everything you own. They’d been traveling for a while. They needed water. They dug a well.
But the neighbors declared their rights to the water. So Isaac packed everyone up again and moved to another location, dug another well, and had to face the protesters once again. “We’ve got our rights! This is our water.”
So Isaac moves AGAIN! Come on, Isaac, grow a backbone.
Why didn’t Isaac stand up for his rights? Why did he let the king and the people push him around? He had the Big Guns on his side, didn’t he? God was on his side, for crying out loud.
As I was thinking about this this morning I was reminded of Romans 12:17-19. Listen to what God has to say to us through his servant Paul:
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written; “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Absolutely there is a time to stand up for what is right. There are plenty of examples in Scripture of God’s people fighting the enemy. Jesus Himself wasn’t afraid to get in the face of someone who was sinning, to overturn tables when necessary.
The Church may be taking this idea of living at peace with everyone too far. But there is also a danger of turning everything into a battle. If God tells us to live at peace with everyone you can, then do it!
That means living at peace with abortion doctors, homosexuals, adulterers, and liars. Do you think you are likely to win someone to the Lord by hating them, or by fighting them, or by waving your Bible in their faces while shouting John 3:16?
Living at peace means feeding hungry people, giving water to thirsty people. (Romans 12:20) It means offering the Bread of Life and the Living Water to people who are dying in their sin.
I don’t believe Scripture is telling us that to live in peace in this world requires getting pushed around or mistreated, as much as it tells us to love the people who are pushing us around and mistreating us.
Can we stand for the Truth in love? Can we?