Today’s Scripture: Genesis 13:5-9
5 Lot, who was traveling with Abram, had also become very wealthy with flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many tents. 6 But the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together. 7 So disputes broke out between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. (At that time Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land.)
8 Finally Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen. After all, we are close relatives! 9 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.”
How do you know when it’s time to go your own way? A better question might be how do you go your own way without burning bridges and making enemies? Lot and Abram might have some advice for us.
It had become clear that Lot and Abram needed to follow their own paths. My guess is they had known this for a while, but it took a fight between their herdsmen to bring it to a head. They had both been successful and now that success was causing them to bump into one another, literally.
But instead of having a fight, Abram decides to offer Lot a deal. “Take any section of the land you want, and I’ll take the other.” The translation that we are reading does not do the Hebrew language justice here. Abram is really saying “kindly take” or “please take”. He’s being overly generous and polite. And the results speak for themselves. But I do sometimes wonder what would have happened if Lot had said “no”. My guess is that it would not have been pretty.
Too often when we are in situations like this we want to dig in and fight. We want to claim what is ours and protect it with everything we’ve got. But sometimes, we just need to go separate ways. Abram knew there was nothing to be gained fighting with Lot. And even though Lot took what looked to be the best land, Abram knew that departing on good terms would be better in the long run.
Abram and Lot departed as relatives and friends instead of enemies. Sometimes going a different way is necessary. How we do so is up to us.
God thank you for leading us. Help us to seek your voice and your will and follow it – even if it means we have to travel a different path than the one we are on. Give us grace and patience and love to walk that path without malice or hatred. Amen.