They were strangers in a strange land. They had left their home and family to follow the call of God. Famine and trials had forced them to flee even further, but now they were back in the land of promise. God’s blessing was apparent, as they returned with an increase of flocks, herds, and tents.
Then it started — quarrels between the herdsmen of uncle and nephew. Shouldn’t they stay together? They needed to stay strong against the Canaanites and Perizzites, who were also living in the land. After all, family needs to stick together.
But Abram knew it would only get worse, if there was not some space between them. He didn’t want to do anything to hinder his nephew, Lot, from expanding and prospering. So, instead of trying to keep him close or throw his weight around as the family elder, he told him: “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers.” He then, most likely, signaled with a wave of his hand, and said, “Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go the left.”
Even after Lot chose the most appealing portion of the land, Abram didn’t regret his decision. Remember, he trusted God, and God did not disappoint.
I wish I could say that the quarrels Abram ended in Genesis were the last to occur, but we know they were not. Quarrels continue as sin leads us to demand our rights or our way. But with those who have found forgiveness in Jesus, why do quarrels continue? James gives an answer:
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.
We are still living in a land surrounded by Canannites and Perizzites — those who do not know the God of Abraham. They are watching the People of the Book, the Jesus Followers, the Church — what do they see?
Are you being tempted to pick a fight with your fellow believer? Look to our Father Abraham for guidance, and put your brother or sister first by saying: “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me…” Let go of whatever you think you deserve and let God provide for your needs. Your relationship with your fellow Christian is more important than any piece of land, or church, or position of leadership, or…whatever.
Let’s not have any quarreling…and watch God be glorified among us.
Grace and Peace