PROSPERITY AND CONFLICT! Sometimes God blesses us so much that we don’t handle it properly and conflict arises within the family. Such was the case with Abraham and Lot. “Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s” (Genesis 13:5-7a NIV). To settle the quarreling and reach peace for the present and the future Abraham offered to let Lot choose the area where he, his family and possessions would live. “Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt” (Genesis 13:10 NIV). So Lot chose this area and parted company with Abraham. Did I mention that Lot “pitched his tents near Sodom and “the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord” (Genesis 13:12-13 NIV)?
Sometimes prosperity causes one to become forgetful of the one who may have helped them to become prosperous in the first place and sometimes prosperity causes one to become greedy instead of being concerned about the needs of others. Sometimes prosperity in the life of a true God worshiper may lead them to forget their roots and get too close in fellowship with those who are “wicked and sinning greatly against the Lord.” It is easy to excuse that by saying that one is only doing business with them. Hanging out with ungodly people can lead to disastrous results as Lot soon discovered when warfare involving Sodom broke out and Lot was “carried off…and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom” (Genesis 14:12 NIV). Except for God’s grace and Abraham’s intervention and rescue we probably wouldn’t have heard of Lot again (Genesis 14:13-16 NIV). He probably would have spent the rest of his life in exile and slavery. But even after being rescued Lot returned to Sodom and Genesis 18-19 reveals how depraved the society was in Sodom and how God hated their sin so much that He was going to destroy the entire city. Except for Abraham’s prayerful intervention on Lot’s behalf with God, Lot and his family would have been destroyed also as the Scripture reveals, “So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived” (Genesis 19:29 NIV).
In America we live in the most prosperous country in the world. Even our financially poorest people probably live better than 90% of the rest of the world. Has our prosperity led us to be more God-fearing, more God-honoring, more loving people than even our parents and grandparents before us? As Christians has our prosperity led us to be more unselfish and God-like or has it caused us to be more selfish, more possession oriented and more “worldly” in our attitudes and actions? Has the prosperity and wealth of our society caused us to be more peaceful as a society and more kind to one another or has it caused greater conflicts among us as righteousness and sinfulness conflict with one another. Or we more like Lot or are we more like Abraham? Are we seeking like Lot to be close to Sodom or are we seeking like Abraham to be close to God? And one final thing; we should not forget the power of prayer on behalf of others. It could mean the difference between life and death.