Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession. ~Deuteronomy 2:5
A “No Trespassing” sign in West Texas, with the rancher’s name signed in blood red next to the warning, read: “STOP. I know you’re thinking about crossing this gate. What you should know is that if the Coyotes, Cactus, Mesquite, Heat, Dust, or Rattlers don’t get you, I will.” “No Trespassing” signs are meant to dissuade someone from passing through land or property that is owned by someone else. It is for the mutual protection of the owner and the other person. In our devotion this morning, the nation of Israel was told to not encroach upon the land of the Edomites. In very strong language, God told them to “meddle not.” This phrase means, “Do not cause strife and contention.”
There is the start.
“The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.” Strife always starts when we are argumentative and have to prove a point to disprove another person. It starts when we are opinionated and let it be known what is on our mind. It starts when we are verbally critical of another person. Strife is being purposely at odds with others. Solomon said that it is as when one letteth out water. It is like water breaking forth with no restraint. It is crossing over into territory that we should not be in. Take a moment and ask yourself, “Do I stir up strife by my words and insist that I always have to be right?”
There is the sin.
Strife is a sin. There is ill will, bad feelings, and hatred where there is strife. Pride is one of the underlying roots that results in strife. “Only by pride cometh contention.” Pride is when we have to prove that we are right. Hatred stirreth up strife. “An angry man stirreth up strife.” “A wrathful man stirreth up strife.” “He loveth transgression that loveth strife.” The contention between Cain and Abel was because Cain was living in sin. The strife between the disciples of Jesus was because, out of pride, some of them wanted to do a one-up on the others. Strife among family members is when we have to have our way and would rather be at war than seek peace. “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?”
There is the suffering.
Everyone suffers when there is strife. There is anxiety. There is sleeplessness. Health disorders, such as elevated blood pressure, increase. There is adversarial tension and a readiness to explode with anger against the one you are at strife with. In a family setting, the family hurts and is divided. In a church setting, the church body is fractured and divided. Between two members, there is hostility, animosity, and avoidance. Paul describes strife between members as vainglory. In an effort to promote our cause, we are vainly puffing ourselves up while there is suffering and hurt. “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
There is the shunning.
The Bible tells us to leave off strife. All strife begins with our words. Think before you speak. Don’t add coals or wood to the fire. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” In effect, meddle not! Don’t meddle! Do not trespass into territory that is not your business.
Have a peace-making God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Acts 7-8