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The Prodigal Nephew

Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers.”
–Genesis 13:8

Thomas Carlyle once wrote that for every one hundred men who can handle adversity, only one can handle prosperity. What is it about wealth that becomes so problematic for people? Now, you might be thinking, “It is not a problem for me. I am not a wealthy person.” Think again. If you know where your next meal is coming from, if you have a place to sleep tonight, then you are wealthy by world standards and by historical standards. That kind of wealth gives us independence. And with independence apart from God, there is always disaster.

In Genesis 13, we see how wealth caused a conflict between Abraham and his nephew Lot. When they got to Canaan, there were already some occupants there, the Canaanites. They had the choicest land, so Abraham and Lot had to look for what was left over. But the two men were so wealthy, the land was not sufficient to care for all their livestock. Verses 6-7 say, “Their possessions were so great that they were not able to remain together. And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock.” Now, that does not mean it is a sin to be wealthy. But we need to recognize that wealth does cause conflict.

So Abraham said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers” (v. 8). He was saying, “Lot, we better quit fighting with one another. We need to remember we are strangers in a strange land. And if the Canaanites sense there is a division between us, they will overtake us and destroy us.”

We would do well to remember that in the church today. In Romans 12:10, Paul said, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” That word “brotherly” comes from the Greek word “adelphos,” meaning “from the same womb.” We as Christians are to remember we are not enemies. We are of the same womb, the womb of Jesus Christ. We have the same blood flowing through our spiritual veins, the blood of Jesus Christ. So often, we have a disagreement with a fellow Christian, and we think that person is the enemy. They are not the enemy; Satan is the enemy. And when Satan, like the Canaanites, senses division, that empowers him to overtake us. Abraham was saying to Lot, “Our wealth has caused this conflict between us, but let’s not forget who the real enemy is.”


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Prodigal Nephew” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Thomas Carlyle, “The Hero as Man of Letters,” in On Heroes, Hero-Worship, & the Heroic in History: Six Lectures (London: James Fraser, 1841), 314.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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