Laying Down Our Rights

Laying Down Our Rights

So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.” (Genesis 13:8-9)

God did something special when He called Abram (later named Abraham) out of Ur of the Chaldees and promised Abram all of Canaan. But when Abram brought his nephew Lot with him into the land, it wasn’t long until there was conflict. Abram and Lot each had big herds of livestock, and their workers fought over the better grazing lands.

Laying Down Our Rights

Abram and Lot each claimed to serve Yahweh as God instead of the local Canaanite idols, and their conflict made them look like hypocrites. The logical solution was to separate the flocks and take them to different grazing lands. But who would go where? That is when Abram used his right to lay down his rights.

Abram said to his nephew, If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left. Abram was the eldest and God promised the land to Abram (not to Lot), this was pure generosity.

This was true generosity, not weakness. Abram could fight when it was the right thing to do (Genesis 14). He didn’t yield to Lot out of weakness but out of love and trust in God. Because Abram lived with an eternal perspective, a few acres of grazing land didn’t seem worth fighting for.

The giving up of rights is a theme throughout the Bible. God was glorified when Jesus, out of love, waived his right to an existence that knew no human suffering or trial by experience (Philippians 2:5-11). God was glorified when Paul, out of love, waived his right to be supported by the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:14-18). In Genesis 13, Abram fulfilled the New Testament principle of love: Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4)

But if we give up our rights, who will look out for us? Abram could do this because he learned that God would provide for him, and so Abram did not have to worry about being too generous. In this case, Abram was willing to let God look out for his interests. Right or left, it didn’t matter to Abram, because God would be there.

There are times to stand on principle and claim a right – the Bible also gives examples of this. Sometimes doing this is good for others and not only for us. Yet we are grateful for the generosity God shows to us, and we seek to show that to others.

We can do what is right by committing our rights to God.

Click here for David’s commentary on Genesis 13

Click Here for Daily Devotionals from David

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *