“It’s just not fair!” We all have had times in our lives when this thought crossed our minds. Someone commits an injustice to us or to our loved ones, and we don’t like it. The natural instinct is to strike back, to get even, to fight for our rights. The Bible, both through command and through godly example, shows us there is a better way.

In the arid land of southern Palestine, nothing is more precious than water. Without water, no herds or crops can live. Without water, no life can exist.

After the death of Abraham, God blessed Isaac abundantly. The Philistines were jealous of Isaac’s prosperity and instigated a conflict with him over water rights. Sometimes they filled Isaac’s wells with earth, and other times they argued with him over the ownership of the wells. Isaac had a clear right to the wells he dug, as well as to the wells that had belonged to his father. Over and again, Isaac gave up these rights to avoid conflict with his neighbors. He chose a way of peace.

Centuries later God, speaking through Moses, would command the Israelites not to covet (Exodus 20:17). The Philistines suffered from a spiritual problem of envy. Isaac chose not to let their problem become his.

The Bible teaches the rightness of self-defense, both in protecting your person and in protecting your property. However, the Bible also shows that the better course to follow is to forgo our rights and to follow the way of peace. Isaac followed in the faith of his father, trusting God to provide. God blessed Isaac just as He blessed Abraham. “And he…dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it.” (Genesis 26:22)

Gospel Advocate
via Whites Creek church of Christ
Whites Creek, TN
Bulletin Digest (November 2007)

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