February 13, 2014

Commentary on the Book of Genesis

By: Tom Lowe

 

PART II: AN ACCOUNT OF ABRAHAM—Gen. 11:10-25:18.

Topic B:ABRAM'S TROUBLES ON ACCOUNT OF LOT. Gen. 13:5-14:24.                        

 

 


Lesson II.B.2: The Promise Renewed and a Home Selected. Gen. 13:14-18.                              

    

Genesis 13:14-18 (KJV)

 

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.

 

 

Commentary

 

This is a remarkable communication in which Abram and lot are set in direct contrast. The weak, selfish, greedy sinner took for himself that which he considered the most valuable possession. Jehovah chose for Abram. Lot chose a piece of land which he finally lost, but God gave Abram the whole land which still belongs to him and his descendents. Lot said, “I will take.” God said to Abram, “I will give.” Lot lost his family, but God promised Abram a family so large he could not count it. (Remember Abram and Sarai were old and had no children.) Lot was living for the possible, but Abram was trusting God for the impossible. What a contrast! It is your faith in God that determines how much of His blessings you will enjoy. As a reward for his rare unselfishness the Lord appeared to the patriarch and gave him the land of Canaan. God gave him the title deed to the land and invited him to open wide his eyes and feast upon the treasures that stretched out before him in every direction. From the hill near Bethel, he could look upon wonderful panoramas of breath-taking beauty. The land of Canaan, at that time, was not what you see today, but was blessed by God with lushness and fruitfulness. This was all his! To make the gift more attractive, the Lord promised Abram many descendents, more numerous than the sands of the sea. This prophesy must have amazed the patriarch, since he did not have a son. But he accepted it by faith.

 

 

The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.”Later on we read in Joshua 24:3, I took your father Abraham . . . and led him throughout all the land of Canaan. . . ” He led Abram from the northern to the southern part of it; he led him as far as Shechem, and then to Bethel, and still onward to the south (Genesis 12:6-9), so that he might have a view of the land his posterity was to inherit, and, by treading on it and walking through it, take, in a manner of speaking, a kind of possession of it. This was probably a symbolic legal rite by which one staked claim to real estate. For Abram, it was a walk of faith!

 

 

Not only did Abram lift up his eyes and look, and lift up his feet and walk, but he also lifted up his heart and worshipped God, and thanked Him for His gracious blessings. He pitched His tent from place to place as God led him, and he built his alters of witness and worship. The people of Sodom were proud of their affluence (Eze. 16:49), but Abram had spiritual wealth that they knew nothing about (John 4:31-34). He was walking in fellowship with God, and his heart was satisfied.

 

 

The place where Abram finally chose to settle is revealed in verse 18 to be Mamre near Hebron. Mamre the Amorite owned a large grove of trees there, hence the name of the place. The trees there were probably already believed to be sacred. Abram here symbolically lays claim to this place for a sacred site for the worship of the true God. Josephus said that an old oak tree had been there since the creation of the world. Surrounding Hebron were olive trees, grape vines, springs, and wells, and grazing grounds. The cave of Machpelah, later bought by Abraham for a tomb for Sarah, was very near. It became the burial place not only of Sarah, but of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Rebekah, and Leah.

 

 

Hebron was an ancient city in southern Judah, nineteen miles southwest of Jerusalem, at the junction of all the principle highways of the region. It stood out prominently on the landscape, since it was located 3040 feet above sea level. Josephus speaks of it as being more ancient than the city of Memphis, in Egypt. At Hebron, Abram settled more permanently, entering into covenants with the local princes.

 

 

Now we know why Abram could give Lot the choice of all the land—Abram had the sure promise of God. He had the awareness that in God he had abundant possessions. Knowing that God’s promise was genuine, Abram was indifferent about what Lot would choose. A person who has the promise of God’s provision doesn’t have to cling to things.

 

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