[From my sermon notes on 09/22/13]
In Genesis 13, we see Abraham and his nephew Lot experiencing conflict. In the early stages of the fulfillment of God’s promise in Genesis 12:2-3, Abraham is being exceedingly prospered, as well as Lot. However, the rapid growth of their livestock and possessions began causing a quarrel to arise between their shepherds. They were literally tripping over each other. The strife eventually extended to Abraham and Lot’s relationship. Their close bond began deteriorating under the constant bickering and infighting. Something drastic had to be done.
We find in 13:3 that Abraham had been seeking God’s face after his miserable failure in Egypt in the previous chapter. (Pimping out your wife to the pharaoh and lying to cover it up and then being booted out of the country tends to humble a man.) I can imagine he was doing much confession and repentance and seeking of heavenly wisdom during this period. I say this because of his solution to the problem.
Abraham stepped aside and allowed Lot to choose which portion of the land he wanted to posses in order to have enough room for his expanding empire. Abraham, being the direct recipient of God’s promise and elder to Lot did not have to do this. But he did. In 13:8-9 he said, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”
Abraham sought peace. Abraham extended peace. He did this because the gospel brings peace. This reminds me of what James wrote: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17).
Oftentimes, when we think of the gospel bringing peace, we think of it in terms of how God made peace with us through the cross (Colossians 1:20). This is glorious and true, but the gospel also brings peace between us and our fellow man. We tend to forget that.
How is it that God sought and made peace with those who hated him, despised him, rejected him, and wanted to kill him, yet we find it too great a thing to seek peace with those who didn’t smile at us in church on Sunday?
Where the gospel is absent peace is absent. Mark it down. Think about your relationships. Who is it that you need to make peace with? So do it. Stop waiting. Stop making excuses. People at peace make peace.
The Bible says it like this:
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18, NIV).
I like the simple way the New Living Translation puts it: “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”
The gospel compels us to strive for peace with everyone – regardless of the situation, because God has made peace with us, and our lives are a reflection of that peace:
“Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
The gospel brings peace.
The gospel causes us to seek peace!