Attractive Humility

Genesis 13:8–9: “So Abram said to Lot, ‘Please let there be no strife between you and me . . .  for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right, or if to the right, then I will go to the left.’”

Observation: Abram had become extraordinarily wealthy. After spending time in Egypt to escape famine in his adopted home of Bethel, he and his nephew Lot ultimately returned to the Bethel area, each more prosperous than before. The available pastureland could not sustain both men’s flocks, so Abram determined that they separate. He generously gave his nephew first choice as to where he would like to settle. This gained for both families more grazing land than they would otherwise have had and also preserved peace in the family.

Application: Abram’s humility is evident in his approach. As the wealthier man and as Lot’s elder, no unfairness would have been perceived had Abram claimed the choicest lands for himself. In this he mirrored Christ Himself who comes to us containing all the power and might of the universe yet clothed in the meekness and humility that would turn men’s hearts and governmental systems on their heads. Strength under control, power not trumpeted: what compellingly attractive humility Abram and our Lord modeled for us. 

A vignette in the following chapter shows us another dimension of Abram’s humble character. Lot, along with his household and his possessions, are taken captive by armies that had also captured the king of Sodom. Upon hearing of Lot’s capture, Abram led his household guards on a rescue expedition. Later, in gratitude, the now-free king of Sodom requested the restoration of his citizens, but offered to Abram all the booty as his just reward. Here, too, Abram chose a humble response, saying, “I have sworn to the Lord God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours lest you say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’” 

It is always a pleasant surprise to find a man who is humble; men and women of great accomplishment are often prideful because of their station in life, while the poor man may exude a false pride clothed in anger or resentment. But Abram was mindful of God’s sovereignty, and in that understanding, God made him into a vessel of honor, one that would be profoundly useful in the advance of Christ’s kingdom. Would that I would exemplify such usefulness.

Prayer: Lord God, I ask You to so fill me with Yourself today that there would be no room for any other. Crowd out “self,” Lord, with more of You. So fill me that only You would shine forth.

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