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. 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.” (Genesis 13:8-9)
In Judaism, much has been written about Abraham’s hospitality and generosity. In these verses we get a glimpse of his character and see that he was, indeed, considerate of others. Being the elder, he could have sent his nephew away in the direction that he preferred him to take but he deferred to his nephew’s choice in an effort to keep peace. Later, the Messiah would say:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
Not only was Abraham generous and desirous of peace within his family but he was also the wiser, and as such, reaped the greater benefits. As the story develops, Lot is prone to choose what appears to the most advantageous region to lead his flocks into while Abraham is content to remain in Canaan. As it turns out, Lot’s choice wasn’t nearly as wise as his uncle’s and cost him dearly. Now consider these verses from James 3:
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James 3:13-18)
For the sake of peaceable relations, Abraham displayed meekness, mercy and wisdom. These are attributes that all of us who are considered to be the “seed of Abraham” (Gal. 3:29) should display in everyday life. It isn’t always easy to yield to someone else, particularly when we know that they are self-serving but, in the end, God blesses those who choose to emulate attributes that come from Him. Righteousness is the fruit of those who make peace. That’s going to be an important thing to remember in the days ahead.
Blessings and Shalom,