This Day in History: 0000-04-12

April 12 – Genesis 13:8-15 

Finally Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen. After all, we are close relatives! The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land on the right. If you prefer the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left.”
Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the Lord or the beautiful land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan Valley to the east of them. He went there with his flocks and servants and parted company with his uncle Abram. So Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and settled among the cities of the plain. But the people of this area were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against the Lord.
After Lot had gone, the Lord said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction – north and south, east and west. I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession…  

How often do family issues seem too great for us to handle? Conflict inevitably ensues, and everyone chooses sides. Differences of opinion become defining and all-encompassing matters of right and wrong. Things as basic as disagreements over property (think inheritance) can permanently divide families for generations! For that reason, I find the often-overlooked lesson from this passage to be far more important than we tend to think. 

That lesson? There is great protection in living selflessly and proactively pursuing peace. 

Abram (the man who would soon become Abraham) was a righteous man. The Bible tells us his righteousness came from his faith in God. He believed God, it says, and God counted him as righteous. I believe we can see that faith demonstrated here, in how he dealt with his nephew Lot. 

Abram was the elder of these two men. He could have claimed the better land for himself and no one would have questioned him. Lot would have had no choice but to take what was left, though it likely would have led to permanent resentment between them. But Abram didn’t do that. 

Neither did he ignore the conflict brewing between their households. There simply weren’t enough resources in one place to support them both, and instead of trying to “make it work,” Abram very wisely confronted the problem, and offered a solution. A totally selfless solution. 

He gave Lot dibs. 

I’m not sure whether these men already knew of the corruption of the (better) land to the east. The text doesn’t tell us. Either way, they were both willing to go there. The land was good, well-watered, and filled with resources. Lot didn’t even pause. He took the better land for himself, not realizing the consequences of his selfishness would reach far into his future. The slippery slope he found himself on would lead to great compromises in his integrity, would rob him of everything he owned when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, and would claim the life of his wife. Essentially, this decision ruined his life. 

Abram, on the other hand, became the patriarch of God’s own people! The first son of the covenant between God and those who would become the nation of Israel. All of that blessing, all of that promise started in this act of selflessness demonstrated by Abram to his nephew Lot, which I believe stemmed from his understanding of God’s sovereignty. He trusted God to work out the details.  

My friends, may we follow the example of Abram! May we believe God, and in so doing, may we have the faith to live selflessly, understanding there is great protection there.