God has given His children His great work to do worldwide. We are to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Strife is a hindrance to world evangelism, one we often fail to recognize. It is a hindrance that robs us of God’s power and blessing.
The Bible says in Genesis 13:1-13,
And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journeys from the south even to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Hai; unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord. And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: 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. 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. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.
“Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee.”
This would be a worthwhile motto to place in all our homes. It would be a worthwhile motto to keep in our places of business and areas where we serve, so that we are constantly reminded, “Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.”
The Bible says in verse two, “And Abram was very rich…” The Bible tells us that Abram became rich; and not just rich, but “very rich.” The Bible also tells us that Lot was a rich man.
God brings this to our attention, that Abram was rich. There is no problem with being rich if wealth is honestly gained, but it does bring more responsibility. To whom much is given, much is required. If you have been blessed with wealth and riches and you have more than others, there is nothing wrong with that: God is giving you an opportunity, and with that opportunity comes great responsibility to invest in eternity.
The danger always looms that what you have is going to cause those you love to quarrel. Basically, that is what brought about this strife between Abram and Lot. If they did not have much, they would not have had much to quarrel about. The strife began to take place, and it was great enough to get the attention of Abram. Abram took the initiative. That is significant.
The Bible says in Acts 1:14, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” This attitude of being in “one accord” without strife had everything to do with God’s blessing on the first-century church. They were of “one accord.” They were not divided by strife and turmoil. Where does this division come from? The Bible answers the question in James 3:14-16, “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
God declares that strife is earthly. It is sensual and devilish. “Evil” means to break things apart and to render them worthless. Strife breaks things apart. It tears life apart, tears families apart, and tears churches apart. It breaks them into pieces. What was once blessed and mightily used of God is now rendered worthless.
James 3:17-18 says, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” The Bible speaks of those who “make peace.” The natural way is to make strife. We must be peacemakers and make peace. We need to be people who “make peace” and are “ full of mercy.”
The Bible says in Philippians 2:1-2, “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” Believers are to seek consolation, comfort, fellowship and mercy.
Philippians 2:3-5 says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Nothing is to be done through strife. We cannot please God without Christlikeness. May God help us to be like our Saviour. He will!