And Abram said to Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray you, between me and you, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen…
Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee. Abraham had a nephew who attached himself to his fortunes and shared his fate. Food, fodder, and water became scarce. The flocks of Lot and of Abraham are more than the land can sustain; the herdsmen of each strive together. Servants will often be more bitter towards the servants of a rival of their master, than those immediately concerned. Pathetic is the appeal of the patriarch for the maintenance of peace.
I. IT IS A MOST DESIRABLE THING TO LIVE IN PEACE WITH OTHERS. We are commanded to do so: "As much as lieth in you live peaceably with all men." We may not sacrifice any good principle for the sake of ease, but we are to strive to maintain peace. In matters of faith a man may have to take up at times such a position that others will speak ill of him, but in regard to the neighborly life he must by all means cultivate amity and concord. Little is ever gained by standing on "our rights." Scandal is always the fruit of quarrelling. The worldly-minded are sure to plume themselves on their superior goodness when the spiritually-minded contend. In many homes there is jangling, sneering, and strife; scathing remarks like hot cinders from Vesuvius fall carelessly around. Tyrannous tempers become like tornados, and moodiness kills like the choke-damp of an ill-ventilated mine. Among nations there should be maintenance of peace. The common sense of most should "hold the fretful realm in awe." In the Church strife should cease. It will when each sect seeks to make men Christ-like and not uniform bigots.
II. THERE ARE ALWAYS MEANS OF MAINTAINING PEACE WHEN IT IS DESIRED. Abraham acted most unselfishly with this view; he yielded his claim to a choice. Lot owed much to Abraham, yet he seized an advantage. Lot looks towards Sodom; the strip of green beside the lake and reaching to Jordan reminds him of the land of Nile. The spirit of Egypt, whence he had lately come, is in him; he chooses Sodom, but with its green pastures he has to take its awful corruption. Abraham turns away in the direction alone left to him. He has his tent, his altar, the promises, and his God; he will live in peace. His Father will not forsake him; indeed God very speedily renews his promises to Abraham, and thus the unselfishness of a peaceful man met with an appropriate reward. - H.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.