When Abimelech went to him from Gerar with Ahuzzath his adviser and Phicol the commander of his army, Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, seeing that you hate me and have sent me away from you?” They said, “We see plainly that the Lord has been with you. So we said, let there be a sworn pact between us, between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the Lord.” So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. In the morning they rose early and exchanged oaths. And Isaac sent them on their way, and they departed from him in peace. That same day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well that they had dug and said to him, “We have found water.” He called it Shibah; therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day. Genesis 2:26-33 ESV
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26:26-29 ESV
Many American Indian tribes used a peace pipe ceremony to make the serious promise of peace with other tribes or groups. When two groups wanted to make an agreement of peace, they would sit together and smoke from the same pipe. Everyone who smoked from the pipe knew they were making a solemn promise that they must not break.
Abimelech wanted to make that kind of solemn promise with Isaac. He was afraid of Isaac’s strength, and could also see that God was with Isaac. When Abimelech said that his people hadn’t done any harm to Isaac, that really wasn’t true. There had been a lot of trouble and quarreling over wells. However, Isaac agreed to make a solemn covenant of peace. He also made a feast for Abimelech and his people, and they all ate together. Sharing a meal in that place and time had the same meaning as smoking a peace pipe did for the American Indians.
Before he died on the cross, Jesus ate with his disciples. While they were eating, Jesus gave them a new meal to eat. This meal was a covenant of peace between God and his people. In communion, Jesus gives his people his body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. God made peace with us by sending Jesus to die on the cross. We can look forward to eternal life with God, a feast of peace that will last forever!
Dear Jesus, thank you for dying to give us peace with God. Amen.