Thursday after the First Sunday after the Festival of the Epiphany of our Lord
Scripture: Genesis 13:1-18 (NKJV)
1 Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South. 2 Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. 3 And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, 4 to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the Lord.
5 Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents. 6 Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. 7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land.
8 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. 9 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.”
10 And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. 12 Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. 13 But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord.
14 And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; 15 for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. 16 And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. 17 Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.”
18 Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the Lord.
The Lord had blessed faithful Abram in a variety of ways. Not only had he been assured and reassured that he would have countless descendants, and that the whole Earth would be blessed through him, Abram also accumulated vast numbers of livestock and much gold and silver along the way. Pharaoh’s interest in Abram while he was in Egypt because of famine in his own land was not only because Sarai, his wife, was a great beauty, but also because Abram was far more than a well-to-do itinerant keeper of flocks. He was a very wealthy man, a veritable prince among his people. His nephew Lot was similarly wealthy. In fact, sojourning together, the land could no longer support their livestock. It was creating conflict among their herdsmen. So Abram, in his wisdom and humility, not only suggested that he and Lot divide their assets and go their separate ways, but also that Lot choose first. Lot selected the lush pasturelands of the Jordan valley, which had not yet been destroyed because of the rampant immorality of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Abraham foreshadowed Christ’s great humility where He divested Himself of all divine prerogatives for our sake. Abram set a wonderful example for us whom Saint Paul urges to “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1-3).
We pray: Father in Heaven, continue to strengthen us in faith toward You and fervent love toward one another, always eager to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Amen.