The placement of this beattitude in the list of beatitudes is no small matter; it is essentially a culmination of all the previous beatitudes!
Essentially, a peacemaker is someone who is at peace with God, and only someone of PURE HEART can be at peace with God. And the only way to be at peace with God is through the MERCY of salvation through Jesus, and only those who become humble enough hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness (vs. some counterfeit) can be saved through their faith in Jesus.
The idea of a peace maker, is therefore a big deal. It is the essence of loving and living sacrificially (SEE Romans 12).
A great quote that summarizes peacemakers empowered by God’s peace:
A peacemaker is someone who experiences the peace of God (Philippians 4:7) because he is at peace (Romans 5:1) with the God of peace (Philippians 4:9) through the Prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6), who, indeed, is our peace (Ephesians 2:14), and who therefore seeks to live at peace with all others (Romans 12:18) and proclaims the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15) so that others might have joy and peace in believing (Romans 15:13).
(Dustin S., DesiringGod.org)
And our character sketch that illustrates a peacemaker in the Bible is Isaac in his dealings with the Philistines who didn’t like him (Genesis 26).
Handout: Blessed are the peacemakers
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called ‘Children of God’” (Matt 5:9). Peacemakers are those who chose not to be overcome by evil, but instead overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21).
Isaac, the son of Abraham, stands out as an example of a peacemaker. Isaac lived his whole life in the land of Canaan, otherwise known as “The Promised Land.” It was called that because God had promised Isaac’s father Abraham that He would give him that land in the future and that his family would grow into a mighty nation. However, during Isaac’s lifetime, the land was still filled with other people groups who did not follow God’s ways. As a result, Isaac lived in many different places in Cannan.
Isaac was born in a place called Beersheba, which means ‘well of the oath.’ It was a place where Abraham had dug a well, and then made an oath with the king of that area, so that Abraham could keep his well.
When Isaac was forty years old, he married Rebekah. They lived in a land called Beer Lai-hai-roi (which means “well of vision”). You see, wells were VERY important in those days, because they were the only source of life-sustaining water.
Sometime later, a severe famine struck the land, so Isaac moved to Gerar, where Abimelech, king of the Philistines, lived. The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Live here as a foreigner in this land, and I will be with you and bless you.” So Isaac stayed in Gerar.
Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him. The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines were jealous of him. So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth. Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.” Rather than argue, Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there.
Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them. But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek (which means ‘argue’ or ‘dispute’). Again, Isaac chose to be peaceful and left the area rather than fighting with the herdsmen.
Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah (which means ‘hatred’ or ‘enemy’). He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, (which means ‘plenty of room’) saying, “Now the LORD has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”
It isn’t easy to be a peacemaker because it means being nice to others – even people who aren’t nice to us! It’s not easy, because we are born with sin in our heart, so putting others first is not a natural thing! We would rather do what’s best for ourselves all the time (that is called selfishness). It wasn’t easy for Isaac to be a peacemaker when his enemies were mean to him; he had to trust in God.
So, becoming a peacemaker requires allowing God to change our heart from selfish to loving, and being willing to let God’s peace guide our hearts and actions. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. He came to give us peace so that we could be peacemakers.