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“Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents. Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock.”—Genesis 13:5-7 (NKJV)
As we continue to work our way through the account of Abram’s life, we come to a conflict, and it arises on account of Abram’s possessions. Specifically, his flocks and herds. They continued to thrive, as did the flocks and herds of his nephew Lot. So much so that the space they shared was no longer able to support them both.
This began to cause friction between the herdsmen who tend their respective herds. Abram’s men want to ensure his animals were adequately fed, as did Lot’s. But with pasture land growing scarce, they began to fight against each other to protect their owner’s interests. It was a family feud, a conflict that could not continue. A resolution is needed, and we see Abram initiate it: “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. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left” (Genesis 13:8-9 NKJV).
Abram understood separation from Lot was necessary for there to be peace between them. So, he proposed that his nephew choose a region to settle in so he could put down roots elsewhere. This way, they would be out of each other’s way.
Now, that may just seem like common sense. But in that particular culture, it was a radical step for Abram to take, which reveals a lot about his character. Being Lot’s elder, Abram held all the authority in their relationship. The nephew would be obligated to obey his uncle’s wishes, who could have just chosen which parcel of land he wanted.
But Abram didn’t play that card. He deferred his privilege to Lot, because he was more concerned with maintaining peace with his nephew than exacting everything he was entitled to. Besides, Abram ultimately trusted that God was going to bless him beyond what he could choose for himself. So, with a truly sacrificial spirit, Abram gave Lot the first pick . . . and quenched the conflict.
What we see in this snippet of Abram’s life is a wonderful example of putting peace before privilege. Sometimes it’s best to sacrifice something valuable for something significantly more precious. And few things are more valuable than peace with your family, natural or spiritual.
Perhaps some of us need to put peace with another ahead of privilege for ourselves. After all, that’s not just what Abram did with Lot, but it’s what Jesus did for us. He set aside His righteous rights and sacrificed Himself so there could be peace between us and God. Peace was His priority, and it should be ours, too.
DIG: What led to the conflict between Abram and Lot?
DISCOVER: How did Abram resolve this conflict?
DO: Consider conflict resolution strategies you can implement based on Abram’s example.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.