“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.”
For the first time in all of my reading of the Bible this truth regarding Abram’s offer to Lot leapt out at me. As seems typical with all families – things are good, plentiful and increasing – so they are bickering and fighting. It’s just what we humans seem to do. When times are good, we find things to fight about. God’s people are no different. Abram and Lot are just every day folks trying to follow God’s leading and manage the blessing God is pouring on them.
Consider this, Abram is the leading patriarch who is somewhat faithfully responding to the call of God and following the leading of God. He was called out of his home and he went. This is big. Lot is the nephew who has graciously been allowed to come along with Abram and share in God’s blessing. Lot is benefiting from the overflow of God’s favor to Abram. It seems both are pretty good places to be. Abram is receiving a blessing as a result of God’s gracious favor and his obedience and Lot has become rich as a result of God’s outpouring on Abram. Their bellies are full. Their pastures are filled. Their families are blessed. These are the good ole days.
Though things are good and people are blessed, humans are not naturally good at heart (regardless of what our culture says). The family employees simply cannot seem to get along. The nature of man is corrupt. The heart of man is evil. Even when things are so good, we bicker out of self interest.
…and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock.
What might seem a bit surprising does not surprise us simply because we see it all of the time. When things are good, people act bad. I don’t want to get sidetracked on this existential truth. We’ve all seen it and know it happens. This is not what jumped out at me. What impacted me was Abram’s response to the family employee bickering. He is the called out. He has heard directly from God and is following His call. He is the primary recipient of God’s blessing and will even become the father of all of the children of God. He is the man of faith. His descendants will be innumerable. His influence will be ever expanding. He is God’s man – the original CEO. Yet, when the trouble arises and he knows the only solution is to separate, he humbly gives Lot first choice of the amazing resources around them. The sacrifice and humility in this action cannot be gainsaid. Abram was in charge. He could clearly see where the good land was and where the greater prosperity lay; yet, he humbly gives Lot, his dependent, tag-along nephew, first choice. At the heart of godly leadership of any sort is humble wisdom. I know God saw this in Abram and was pleased. Our Father is pleased with a humble heart that seeks the welfare of others first. It is a fundamental truth of Scripture. “Consider others as more important than yourselves…” Listen, implementing such a truth is difficult enough when it doesn’t involve family – those to whom you are closest. This virtue is darn near impossible to enact when family are involved. Those we know the best are the hardest to know and love. I know this first hand, as do those who know me.
Father God must have been filled with thankfulness for Abram’s humility. This man who was submitting his will to his Father was expressing the very qualities of the One he was following. It is a supernatural progression. As we submit ourselves to a humble loving Father, He will supernaturally transform us into His image. It won’t be quick. It will involve recurring failures on our part. It won’t be painless. But the truth is clear: God loves a humble heart in His servant and will overwhelmingly bless the one who walks and leads in humility. Abram clearly illustrates it here.
– In the early days of his walk with God.
– Among those who were closest to him and surely irritated him often.
– When the choice made was clearly to his detriment and to the benefit of one who chose.
Lord, make us like Abram. Make us like You. Humble, sacrificing people of God.