We live in a world of desperate desires and needs. We all need the means to live – an income, work etc in order to maintain ourselves physically. We are physical beings with physical needs which must be met in order to survive. We must have food, clothing and shelter as minimum. That is self evident.
What is not so self evident is the need to look to God our Maker for what we need. The so called ‘Lords prayer’ often also called the ‘Our Father’ or ‘paternoster’ makes this clear [Matthew chapter 6 and Luke chapter 11]. But that is not easy to do or understand. Naturally speaking we get very worried if our livelihood is threatened or taken away. That is understandable. We are talking about our most basic needs, here.
For the Christian believer, God is the first priority, not our needs. In the world about us, the struggle and strife for possession of money and goods becomes a god in itself. The basic need we all have, can become an inordinate obsession. When that happens, human beings start to trample on each other; they lose respect for their fellows.
People lie and cheat to get what they want. How many have lied on their CV or resume to get a job or position ? How many go even further and wilfully malign others to get their way, regardless of the needs of those others ?
This is all very understandable, given our basic needs, but it is not right. How then should we be ? How should the person who believes in – that is entrusts their whole life to – God conduct themselves ?
We reach chapter 13 of the book of Genesis in the Bible, in our study of Genesis. In that chapter we read the account of the dispute between Lot’s herdsmen and those of Abram. Their respective numbers had become so great that they were now in contention for pasture for their respective flocks. The situation became critical and required resolution.
Now, conflict in this fallen world usually results in the stronger overwhelming the weaker. For example, today we see the superpowers contending for this planet’s natural resources and the world markets to sell their goods. This often becomes a cause of warfare – and warfare is not openly military; in the 21st century it also takes the form of cyber-attacks and propaganda in the media.
But how should the believer react ? The world indulges its lusts for power and possession by trampling on others.
God tells his people to act otherwise.
Abram shows us how in chapter 13 !
Instead of arguing with Lot and striving to displace or even take over all that Lot possesses, Abram entrusts the situation to God. He puts his own needs and desires to one side, and voluntarily gives Lot first choice of where to go. Abram will not selfishly grasp at the good land, but allows Lot to possess it. In his turn, Abram will move away and remove the grounds for contention.
The key to contention is to give up self will and ‘let God’. That solves the problem in critical ways.
In the first place, it takes away the reason for a fundamental conflict.
In the second place, by removing the fundamental reason, it resolves the matter permanently, rather than letting the issue fester and return at some later date.
In the third place, it puts our trust in God to act and decide on his supernatural and so permanet terms. God can step in once we have stepped aside in our hearts and in our consequent behaviour
That being so, we learn to know the reality of God’s grace and provision on his terms, instead of on selfish human terms. That is key because without the cross experience of dying to what we want, we cannot know the power of God’s grace to intervene and come to our aid.
This is the critical principle and attitude in all we think and do as Christians. Let go and let God.
Let God adjudicate and determine the matter; let God come in and act for us. And he will do that only when we opt to get SELF out of the way !
May God bless you !