Read Genesis 13:1-18
Strife is defined as “angry or bitter disagreement over fundamental issues; conflict.” It is not surprising that Abram wanted to avoid such a situation with his nephew Lot.
Strife comes from a heart that is filled with hatred, anger, pride, and perversity. Notice what the inspired wisdom literature says:
- “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins” (Proverbs 10:12).
- * “By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom” (Proverbs 13:10).
- * “A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention” (Proverbs 15:18).
- * “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends” (Proverbs 16:28).
Wisdom also teaches, “The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts” (Proverbs 17:14). Adam Clarke explains, “As soon as the smallest breach is made in the dike or dam, the water begins to press from all parts towards the breach; the resistance becomes too great to be successfully opposed, so that dikes and all are speedily swept away. Such is the beginning of contentions, quarrels, lawsuits, &c.” (Clarke’s Commentary, Volume 3, p. 750).
Rather than go to war with Lot over the land, Abram put his trust in God to provide wherever he found himself. God had promised to bless him, but it is difficult to receive blessing if one is filled with anger and pride.
Perhaps Abram recognized that strife between himself and Lot would also cause strife between himself and God. This is the point Jesus made in Matthew 5:23-24 when He said, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
Is your relationship with God strained? If it is, take a look at your relationship with your neighbor. “Please let there be no strife between you and me…for we are brethren.”