|"Parting of Abram and Lot" - from Treasures of the Bible (Genesis)|
TO CHEW ON: "And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's stock. … So Abram said to Lot, 'Please, let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brethren.' " Genesis 13:7,8
Conflict within the family and between workers, fights over the same "piece of the pie," standoffs that lead to broken relationships—these are not unusual situations to us. But perhaps Abram's way of handling conflict in his family was.
1. He exposed the problem—brought it up in conversation with his nephew rather than ignoring it till it got worse.
2. His solution—to give Lot first choice of grazing land—had the potential to damage him. And indeed Lot, true to his personalty "…chose for himself" (Genesis 13:11), and Abram was left with the inferior pastureland.
3. But God was way bigger than what might look to us like a foolish giving in by Abram. For it was after they split that God came to Abram again with such a fantastic promise, he may have been left shaking his head: Did I hear right? (Genesis 13:14-17).
What can we learn from Abram to apply to our own lives?
- To confront conflict and strife, not let it fester.
- To be realistic about the cost. We need to realize that in confronting the strife, there may be consequences, maybe even negative consequences to us. Maybe the partner will decide to buy us out, the relationship will break up, the adult son or daughter will move out…
- To be reassured that by pursuing peace, we make ourselves a target of God's blessing.
- Such an action identifies us as God's children - Matthew 5:9.
- It is a characteristic of heavenly wisdom - James 3:17.
- It, along with holiness, sets us apart as ones who will see God - Hebrews 12:14.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to pursue peace above my own self-interest, knowing that Your ways are always the wisest and best despite what it may look like right now. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.