In Psalm 34:14, we read, “Search for peace, and work to maintain it.” It’s repeated in 1 Peter 3:11. Peace is hard. Peace is something you have to search for, because it does not come easy. It takes work. We have to work to maintain it. It requires us to keep silent when we do not want to hold our tongue. It requires us to listen closely. It requires us to forgive. It requires us to use good discernment. It requires self-control. It requires a lot.
The Bible tells us to search for peace. It is something to prize, something to seek out. It is something we should desire. The Bible also says that peace has to be worked for and maintained. Peace doesn’t get handed to us. Peace isn’t going to be easy, but it is important for us to continue to aim for it.
Today, think about how you search for and maintain peace. Are you looking for peace? Are you working toward peace? When you see issues arise, are you a peacemaker or do you fan the flame of chaos? When there is the option to be a peacemaker in a situation, are you the peacemaker or the one who starts a battle?
“Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.” – Psalm 34:14 [NLT]
I love what happens in Genesis 13:8. Abram recognizes that the conflict or strife between Lot and himself could not continue. When we get wrapped up in conflict, it may keep us from keeping our eyes fixed on God and His call on our life. It also may cause division. God’s Word speaks a lot about unity, not division. He wants a united people, a united people with a heart for Him.
Abram takes the initiative to do something about it, rather than allow the conflict to continue. What a great example of a leader—one who can notice a situation and take steps to ensure it would not lead to something worse. This meant a separation from his nephew, but it was necessary. It reminds me of what Jesus says in Matthew, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
God has great plans for His people. It requires us to humble ourselves and have a unity of mind. What does this mean? It means we are united for one purpose – doing the will of God. We don’t allow ourselves to get in the way, to be a stumbling block, to what God is doing. We don’t put ourselves first, but we show brotherly love to others and look out for their best interests. We trust that God has the best plan, and we surrender to it.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” – Matthew 5:9 [ESV]
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” – 1 Peter 3:8 [ESV]
The Bible often talks about the right hand of God, and yet we don’t read much about His left hand. Many may question this lack of left-handed mentions. It is important to recognize that the right hand was considered the strong hand. It represented strength as we see in Isaiah 41:10, my life verse. But there is something else about the right hand.
The right hand, the place to the right of a person, is a place of honor. The New Living Translation translates the verse from 1 Peter as “the place of honor next to God.” This is the place that people wanted to be. Remember James and John’s mother wanting one of her children sitting in that privileged spot. Consider Who is at the right hand of God. Remember, as Stephen looked up before he was stoned to death, he saw Jesus at the right hand of God. To Him be all the honor, glory, and praise. He gets the highest honor. He is the highest, above all!
Today, as you read your Bible and reflect on His Word, look at where you find His right hand referenced in the Bible. Cling to those promises. Cling to Him Who has made those promises. Remember it is His right hand that upholds you.
“A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’” – Psalm 110:1 [ESV]
“My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.” – Psalm 63:8 [NASB]
“Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.” – 1 Peter 3:22 [NLT]
Whenever there is something that needs to be done, I always try my best to be prepared. When planning for a trip, I make a list of all the needs for packing. For my finances, I have my budget organized in Excel, outlined meticulously after having some amazing training from Dave Ramsey. Even when I take my dog Max for a walk, I have things I do to prepare. I like being prepared.
In 2 Chronicles we read of groups of people who did not prepare themselves properly for the Passover meal. As a result they did not partake of the meal. Hezekiah prayed for forgiveness for these people who pretty much missed the boat.
Today, I challenge you with your preparedness with God. Do you prepare yourself in the morning by reading God’s Word and by praying? Do you prepare yourself for worship? Do you prepare yourself before Communion? Remember the Parable of the Ten Virgins, with the five women who had no oil for their lamps. Are you prepared for Jesus’ return? Are you prepared to share your faith? Remember what Peter said, to always be prepared to share the reason for your hope. Are you prepared?
“There were a lot of people, especially those from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, who did not eat the Passover meal because they had not prepared themselves adequately. Hezekiah prayed for these as follows: ‘May God who is all good, pardon and forgive everyone who sincerely desires God, the God of our ancestors. Even—especially!—these who do not meet the literal conditions stated for access to The Temple.’”
-2 Chronicles 30:18-19 [MSG]
When someone does something wrong to you, there is usually this desire for justice and even revenge. Over the years I have heard many stories about how people have gotten even with others who did something bad to them. We all have this need for retribution but God doesn’t want us to “get even” with people by repaying them with evil.
Too many people take the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” concept the wrong way. God is a God of justice and He will judge. He is fair. He is right. He is faithful. Our retaliation, our revenge attempts only bring us a moment of temporary satisfaction for getting someone back. But does it really do something good for us? Does it really make us feel better?
God wants us to pay people back with a blessing. Has someone done something mean to you? Has someone hurt you? Has someone stolen from you? Has someone spoken badly about you? Pray for them. Pay them back with a blessing. Don’t stoop down a level for retribution. Trust God will handle it all. Be a blessing.
“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.” – 1 Peter 3:9 [NLT]