Read to Read
Daily Reading: Genesis 12-15
And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.
No strife is a worthy goal. Whether in a family, a church, the workplace or a nation, having no strife is possible. In the relationship between Abraham and Lot three things are noticed that can help obtain and sustain a strife free relationship in any situation.
The first is to realize that there is a problem and identify the reason for the problem. The problem between these two relatives (Abraham was Lot’s uncle) was their mutual success. These two men were rich in cattle, flocks, and tents. A subtle hint as to Abraham’s greater success is that he is said to also be rich in silver and gold (by the way this is the first mention of silver in Scripture). Not only was Abraham the elder of the two, not only was he the uncle that had a part in raising Lot, he was also rich in something more than livestock. He, Abraham, must have heard of the strife that both men were having with their herdmen, their employees if you will. It is one thing to realize that a problem of strife has raised its ugly head, but that is not enough. To become strife free a realization of the cause of the strife is also needed.
The second step in easing strife is for one of the two in the party to be willing to “be the bigger person.” Abraham came to Lot, frankly, humanly speaking Lot should have come to Abraham. But just as Hebrews 7:7 states: And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. Which is always the case, Abraham, the better, decided to be a blessing to Lot, the lesser, by allowing him the upper hand in a proposed remedy to the strife.
Thirdly, Abraham had a plan. It is found in verse 9 of Genesis 13. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. Instead of yielding the right of first choice to his uncle, Lot looked, desired, and took what he wanted. This pattern will repeat itself over and over throughout the balance of the Bible. David looked, desired, and took. Eve looked, desired, and took. These are three deadly steps toward destruction. There is nothing wrong with any of these three actions, but combined without counsel, prayer, self-governance, and without any consideration of righteousness. These can and will lead to trouble. They certainly did in Lot’s life.
Perhaps you may remember that in the Beatitudes, found in Matthew 5, that one of these is: Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God (vs. 9). Abraham was the peacemaker and he was blessed by Almighty God (13:14-18). Abraham the better, blessed Lot the lesser, God the better, blessed Abraham the lesser. This too will be seen many times over in Scripture.
Truly, the book of Genesis is the seed plot of the Bible. In it, in seed form, are all the great and wonderful doctrines, and human conditions, that become clear by the end of the Book. What an amazing start to a new year. Keep reading. The best is yet to come!
William T. Howe Ph.D.