Gen. 13:1-9 Abram returns to Bethel

            Gen. 13:1 "And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. 2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. 3 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; 4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD. 5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. 7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. 8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. 9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left." 

            Because of a famine in the land of Canaan, which the Lord had directed Abram go to, Abram left to go sojourn in Egypt.  He did this without asking counsel of God.  There in Egypt he had deceitfully told the Egyptians that Sarai was his sister and not revealed to them that she was his wife.  As a result of these things Abram and Sarai were expelled from Egypt by Pharaoh.  All the time that Abram had been in Egypt, we have no indication that he worshipped God or called upon the name of the Lord.

            Immediately upon returning to Canaan, Abram went to the place where he had previously built an altar to worship God.  Here between Bethel and Hai, Abram worshipped God and called upon the name of the Lord.  This teaches us that when we depart from the worship of God and seeking counsel from God and we act in the sinful ways of the world and consequently get our lives in a mess, the answer for us is to return to the place where we departed and call upon the name of the Lord and worship him.  God is gracious and forgiving of the sins of his people.  Returning seems to go against the pride of many people, but Abram set us an example.  That truly is the only meaningful solution for the wayward child of God.

            Abram had increased greatly in herds, flocks, and cattle while in Egypt by the gift from Pharaoh.  Upon returning to Canaan, this proved to be a snare to continued fellowship with his nephew Lot.  Lot also had much cattle, flocks and herds.  "And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together."  Almost invariably in life we have to make hard decisions.  In Abram's case, he had to decide which was more important to him, the fellowship of Lot or his material possessions.  Just think how many families have been divided over this very issue.  The land was simply not able to bear the cattle of both Abram and Lot.  There wasn't enough grass for the two sets of herds and cattle. 

            "And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land."  This strife developed first between the herdmen of Abram and Lot.  How would Abram and Lot resolve the strife?  The strife was in open view of the inhabitants of the land.  So often the actions of God's children are open to view by the inhabitants of this world.  If the action is handled in an ungodly way, then the world will ridicule the disciples of the Lord and reproach the name of the Lord.  If the action is handled in a godly way, then it encourages the children of God who observe the action out in the world. 

            Abram chose the way of godliness, even if it was not financially prudent to do so.  Abram treasured his fellowship with Lot above worldly gain.  He had his priorities based on the love of God and love towards God's children.  This is where our priorities should be as well.

            "And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. 9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left." 

            Abram made the magnanimous proposal to Lot to chose where he wanted to go, and Abram would take the other path for his cattle and herds.  This is just the opposite of what prideful man would have done.  Through the pride and greed of our flesh, we generally want to have our way and that way is to get gain.  Through the love of God, we are to mortify the deeds of the flesh and seek not our own gain, but the gain of others.  Abram chose the good way.  Abram is an example for us today.


Gen. 13:10-13 Lot's Choice

             Gen. 13:10 "And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly."

            When Abram made the magnanimous proposal to Lot giving him the choice as to where he wanted to go live, and Abram would go the opposite direction, Lot had to consider what to do.  From the description above we can make the following conclusions concerning Lot's choice and why he made the choice:

                        1.  Lot did not consult the Lord as to what the Lord would have him do.

                        2.  Lot made his choice based on what was the best place for him to prosper materially.  He saw the plain of Jordan "was well watered every where even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt."  Thus, his cattle would have plenty of grass to eat and water to drink. 

                        3.  Lot did not consider what the moral fiber of the people would be that he would have to associate with.  He did not consider the effect it would have upon himself and his family.  Lot did not look for a place where he could have fellowship with godly people.

            When we do as Lot did and fail to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives and our decisions, we suffer the consequences of our actions.  One only has to look at the later results to Lot and his family to realize that Lot made a very poor judgment in pitching his tent in Sodom.  There are consequences to our actions here in this time world.  We know the scriptures teach us that Lot was a child of God and that heaven is his home:  2 Pet. 2:7, 8 "And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)"  However, his journey in this life was met with great vexation and trouble based on his choices and actions.

            The above teaches us that we should seek the Lord and his guidance in our decisions in this life.  Failure to do so will result in serious negative troubles and consequences to us.


Gen. 13:14-18 Abram receives further revelation from God

             Gen. 13:14 "And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. 17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. 18 Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD."

            "And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him," Remember that God had told Abram to do four things: leave his country; leave his father's house; leave his kindred; and go to a land that God would show him.  First, Abram left his country, but not his father's house.  After the death of his father Abram came to the land of Canaan, the land which God showed him.  Still his nephew Lot was with him and sojourning with him.  He had not yet done everything that God had told him to do.  With the strife between the herdsmen of Abram and the herdsmen of Lot, Abram proposed a separation between himself and Lot.  When Lot had left, then the Lord appeared the second time unto Abram.  Abram had not bothered to leave his kindred until the strife arose.  Sometimes we fail to experience all the blessings of God for a while because we have not fully obeyed the Lord.  Once Abram had fully obeyed the commandments of God, then God gave a further revelation unto Abram. 

            "Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever."  Sometimes when God gives a revelation or prophecy, there is a near-term fulfillment and later a long-term fulfillment.  This is sometimes referred to as adumbration.  Prophecies are often adumbrated.  This one appears to be adumbrated.  God told Abram to look in every direction and the land that he saw he would be to him and to his seed forever. 

            The first fulfillment of this prophecy had to do with the land of Canaan itself.  God gave the land by promise to Abram.  A few hundred years later Abram's descendants came into possession of that land according to the covenant promise of God.  However, their possession of this land was not literally forever.  His descendants were driven from that land during the Assyrian and Babylonian empires, and to a large extent the land remained in the possession of others.  A portion of that land returned to the Jews during the days of Nehemiah and Ezra.  However, all the land was lost to the Jews around 70 A.D.  A very small portion of that land is currently occupied by a small portion of the descendants of Abram. 

            A greater fulfillment of that prophecy has to with heaven itself.  Scripture tells us that the "seed" of Abram under consideration was not "Isaac" and his descendants, but rather the was "seed" is singular and has reference to Jesus Christ: Gal. 3:16 "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." 

            The second part of that prophecy had to do with the fact that the seed of Abram would be multiplied to an innumerable host: "And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered."  The term, "dust of the earth," is simply used to illustrate that the seed (Christ) multiplied could not be numbered for multitude.  In the New Testament we learn that the natural descendants of Abram are not the multitude under consideration but that the true multitude is known as "children of promise:" Rom. 9:6-8 "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.  That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed." 

            In Gal. 4:28 we are told who the children of promise are and how they became children of promise: Gal. 4:28 " Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise."  We will save our discussion of this until we get to the birth of Isaac. 

            That the children of promise would possess heaven is set forth for us in Rom. 8:16, 17 "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."  Since, heaven is Christ's dwelling place, then the children of promise, being joint-heirs with Christ shall also possess heaven.

            The bottom line, God promised Abram that he and his seed would have a permanent dwelling place and that the seed of Abram would be multiplied to an innumerable host. 

            "Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. 18 Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD."  As would be expected Abram immediately took note of the local or near term promise and greatly desired to see what the land was like that God had promised him and his descendants.  Afterwards, Abram continued his efforts at altar building and worshipping the Lord.  The understanding that we receive of the word of God should also encourage us to spend much time in worshipping the Lord.  Just like Abram, God has made some wonderful promises to us also.