There’s trouble in town. We see it brewing as Genesis 13 builds. Abram and Lot are two filthy rich men with too much stuff living too close together on too little land.
Verse six says Abram and Lot owned so much stuff the land couldn’t support both of them living together. So the fighting breaks out (v. 7) between Abram’s herdsmen and Lot’s herdsman.
What does Abram do when he realizes this? He doesn’t ignore the problem, and he doesn’t give Lot the boot, even though he’s the older uncle. Nope, Abram acts like a true peacemaker. This is what all sons and daughters of God will do:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9).
First Abram goes directly to Lot and acknowledges the conflict:
“Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen” (v. 8).
In other words, “We’re family, Lot; Let’s not fight.” But Abram doesn’t stop there; he offers a solution. An incredibly kind, unselfish solution:
“Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left” (v. 9).
What was Abram thinking? If I replay the tape of my life, I see how I’m always choosing the best for myself: claiming the bed over the sleeping bag; choosing the corner piece of cake with gobs of frosting; keeping the best clothes for myself and passing the “rejects” on to someone else.
But here the stakes are much higher than a good night’s sleep, a sugar high, or stylish clothes. Abram is choosing where he and his descendants would settle. If Abram let’s Lot keep this land, he’ll have to move yet again.
How could Abram offer Lot first dibs? Scripture gives us a couple clues:
- Abram trusted God’s promises. God had told Abram his descendants would receive all this land, and Abram believed God even when he couldn’t see how God would do it (Gen. 12:7). Rather than grasping the land tightly, He clung to God tightly.
- We’re told in Hebrews 11:10 Abram was looking forward to his forever home instead of living for the “here and now.”
That’s why Abram could live openhandedly and make the tough choice to be a peacemaker instead of fighting with Lot for every inch of ground. The same will prove true for you and me. If God is truly our reward, we will not need to grasp tightly to other things:
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps. 73:25-26).
As you think back to what has riled you up recently, dig a little deeper. Do you want stuff or relationships or others’ good opinion of you more than you desire God? How can you become more of a peacemaker, more like your Father God who sent His Son to make peace with you (Rom. 5:1, Col. 1:19–20)?
This post has been updated; its original version (“When You Always Choose The Best For Yourself . . .“) was featured on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.