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“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.”
Brethren in Christ are one body, one Spirit, and one faith in the LORD. For this cause, we should strive together to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:1-7). Christ is not divided. Therefore, all strife, contention and debate is not of Christ, but is of the devil (James 3:13-18).
THE TRIAL OF STRIFE
The strife between the herdsmen of Abraham and Lot is a picture of the trials that arise from the sinful nature of our flesh. The strife was not between Abraham and Lot, but between their herdsmen. Even so, there truly is never division between those that are in Christ. Strife arises from the sin that dwells in us, not from that new man in Christ. It is a trial of faith for believers to put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man (Col 3:1-17).
THE DANGER OF STRIFE
The Spirit of God distinctly mentions the enemies of Israel in our text. – “The Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.” Both of these peoples were the descendants of Canaan, the cursed son of Ham. Canaan was cursed because Ham exposed the nakedness and shame of his father Noah. Beware of that evil spirit which seeks to accuse and expose the sins and faults of brethren in Christ. Satan is called “the accuser of the brethren.” Our Savior warned us, “It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!” He then specifically commands us to forgive one another (Luke 17:1-5). Beware that you do not offend Christ’s little ones as did the self-righteous, unforgiving hypocrites of the Pharisees (Matt 23:13).
THE DEVICE OF SATAN
Strife is an evil device of Satan that breeds hatred, self-righteousness, division and an unforgiving spirit. Paul exhorted the saints at Corinth to forgive and comfort the brother who once lived in sin, for God had given him repentance, and “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor 2:11).
LET THERE BE NO STRIFE
Abraham said unto Lot, “Let there be no strife.” This is the desire of that new man of grace. Abraham is set forth as an example of a believing child of God. God had given him all things in Christ. He had the sure promises of God by the Gospel. He looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. He had peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, so he sought to live in peace with all men, and especially a brother. He heard and obeyed the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb 12:14-25).
INSTRUCTION AGAINST STRIFE
“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” (vv 8-9).