And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling 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. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land. Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. 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.” Genesis 13:5-9 ESV
There is no way to write about Abram’s dealings with Lot without displaying the entire scripture passage which tells the story. Abram did what goes against the grain of every human being. He gave preference to the ones who wanted his blessing. Abram and Lot were never unified in mission. There had been friction from the start. Now, the conflict between them rises to the surface again. The land is too small for both and all their flocks. Their herdsman are fighting over pasture land and who should have rights to it.
Abram knows God has promised him the land and the blessing of prosperity. But, instead of hoarding the blessing, instead of rising to play God, he defers to Lot. He lets him be the first to choose what part of the land he would like to make his own. Abram showed a lack of self-interest. Why would he be so generous?
Because he believed in the sovereignty and promises of God. Deferring to Lot would not threaten what God had promised. Abram didn’t need to fight for what God said was his. That battle was God’s and Abram rested in future provision.
God has given each of His children a calling and a host of promises to accompany it. No one can steal it. God may be invisible but He is not inactive. I do not need to come apart when it appears that I’m about to be crowded out of the picture. God is still pulling strings to ensure my future. I can step aside and be gracious, even to the unrighteous, feeling no need to fight for what God said is mine. I can choose to live in the confidence of God’s promises rather than the fear of being left out.
From the time we are small, we cry when another takes away our toy. “Mine,” we protest. The sense of injustice takes over our emotions. God’s ways are difficult, and it takes the grace of God to react differently in adulthood. Like Jesus who laid aside glory to become a servant, we can choose to serve our enemies, too. His future was not threatened even though it looked like it was for a time. Today, He sits in His rightful place of rule and authority. The supposed threats are dead and gone and virtually nameless. So it is if we choose to follow Jesus. Deferring is not losing. Deferring is an act of faith and the pathway to the blessing and inheritance that cannot be taken away.
When I’m clutching and hoarding, speak to my fearful heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen