Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents. 6 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.
7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land.
8 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.
9 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.”
In Egypt, God not only prospered Abram, but also his nephew Lot by association. As their flocks and herds multiplied, the ability to find adequate grazing land in proximity to their dwelling site became more difficult and caused discord between their herdsmen.
One of the reasons for the difficulty was that the Canaanites and Perizzites already had firmly established grazing areas. Because Abram was a peace loving man who chose not to create conflict with the inhabitants of the land, he did not infringe on these territories. As a result, areas large enough to support the herds of both men were limited.
The logical solution was for Abram to separate from Lot before the tensions between them escalated. Abram’s proposal that Lot go one direction and he another was a pragmatic decision designed to relieve tension between the two families.
Abram was not giving away any of the land God had promised him and his covenantal descendants. At the time, both he and Lot were foreigners living in the Promised Land that would not become the real property of Abram’s descendants until their Exodus from Egypt.
Allowing Lot the first choice in the relocation, Abram not only demonstrated generosity, but also minimized the potential for future conflict by eliminating the possibility that Lot could later claim he had been ill treated by Abram.
Ultimately, Abram’s generous proposal was a practical act of faith. Abram was confident that God would keep His promises and continue to prosper him regardless of Lot’s choice.
1) Bible opened to Isaiah. By Ken Horn. [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) The Separation of Abraham and Lot, c. 1722. By Joseph Ruffini (1690-1749); [PD-Art], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author. Scripture taken from the NKJV, emphasis added.
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