Text verses: Genesis 13:5-9
God, in His Sovereign Selection of Abram to be used as the Father of the Faithful, had related to Abram that the first matter of importance of being used in His service was separation.
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:” (Genesis 12:1)
However, it took a long period of time for this to happen in Abram’s life. Abram left the Ur of the Chaldees, but he brought his father and Lot, his nephew (Genesis 11:31). Then after Abram’s father, Terah, had died in Haran, Abram still did not obey God, for Lot went with Abram to Canaan, the place God had chosen to place Abram and his posterity (descendants) to be the separated people of God upon all the earth (later called Israel).
Then the famine came; Abram and Lot fled to Egypt. When they came up out of Egypt, they had many possessions. In fact, they were both rich, “for their substance was great” (Genesis 13:6b), and see verse 2, “And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.”
Little did Abram know that the riches God had given to him and Lot would be the very thing that God would use to finally separate Abram and Lot – bringing Abram where God had told him to be in the beginning.
In verses 6 and 7, Abram and Lot had so many cattle, etc.; the land was not able to bear them both living in the same area. Plus there was strife between the herdsmen of Lot and Abram.
Finally to bring peace to the family, Abram told Lot they needed to separate:
“Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me.” (verse 9)
Many times wealth stands in the way of a Child of God’s service to God and for God. Money, or wealth, in itself is not bad or evil; Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:8-11:
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:10)
However, in today’s devotional text reading (Genesis 13:2-8), we have only the first effect of the love of money. This is revealed in the word “strife”:
“…for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.” (Genesis 13:6b-7)
The word “strife” means (1) conflict, the state or condition of distrust or enmity; (2) fight, struggle. The synonyms are discord, dissension, dissent, friction, schism, variance, war, warfare (Webster).
The root of their strife was they all were looking for the necessary food supply for their cattle, to prosper them. The fact is there were too many trying to live and prosper on the land around them; between Abram’s people, Lot’s people, and the previous inhabitants of Canaan, the Canaanite and the Perizzite. The strife was not only between the herdsmen, but also between Abram and Lot:
“And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.” (Genesis 13:8)
God had not restrained the flesh, and its desire for more and more, and to prosper Abram and Lot; because God would use this very situation to bring about separation, which He had already commanded Abram to do.
This happens in the Child of God’s life, even today. God allows our flesh to bring us to a place where we have to separate. The Child of God that has been called of God for a specific purpose, will come to God’s appointment for him.
We have many examples of this in God’s Word. Moses was 40 years in Egypt and 40 years in the desert to come to the Burning Bush. King David had many trials and troubles to come to be king over all of Israel. The act of the flesh that finally broke David, and brought him to the place of Psalms 51:1-17, was his adultery with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, and Uriah’s murder. Jonah had to be swallowed by the great fish to cry out to God for salvation, to finally serve God. The examples of this point are many, too many to list here. But just as God used the wealth of Abram and Lot to bring about separation of Abram from all – his country and his kindred – God does the same today for His called servants.
Reader, you may be wondering at this very moment: How did I get here? What is really going on in my life? Why is all this strife in my life?
The solution is to reflect on God’s Call and Commission to you. Have you separated yourself from this world, even family? (See Luke 14:26.) Are you separated from the communion of this world? (See 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.) Even from you own life (or goals)? (See Luke 14:26, 33.)
The answer is pray, confess, search the Scriptures, and do what God has said for you to do. Then you will have success.