Genesis Chapter Thirteen

 

Read Genesis 13:1-4 – Abram Returns to Bethel

 

v.1 And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.”

 

            As we had studied in chapter 12, Abram had deceived Pharoah by telling him that Sarai was his sister rather than telling his that she was his wife.  As she was a very beautiful woman, Pharoah took her into his house and God plagued Pharoah because of his sin.  When he learned of Abram’s deception he ordered him to take his wife and leave Egypt.  Consequently they re-enter the promised land from the south.

 

v.2And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.”

 

            God not only blessed Abram with the promise of the land of Canaan for his descendants but we also read of the tremendous wealth of Abraham in other places as well.  When Abraham’s servant went to Laban to seek a wife for Isaac and found Rebekah, he uses this information to his best advantage to impress her brother.

 

Genesis 24:35And the LORD hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses.”

 

Abram was truly such as is described by the Holy Spirit through the wisdom of Solomon:

 

Proverbs 10:22 “THE BLESSING OF THE LORD, IT MAKETH RICH, AND HE ADDETH NO SORROW WITH IT.”

 

v.3-4And 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; 4Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.

 

            We’re told that Abram journeyed well into the interior of Canaan, all the way back up to the area of Bethel and Ai, north of the location of Jerusalem, where he had built the first altar to God.  There Abram “CALLED ON THE NAME OF THE LORD”.  The Holy Spirit through the prophet Joel tells us:

 

Joel 2:32And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.”

 

In the sermon on Pentecost, as he was directed by the Holy Spirit, Peter tells us that is where we find salvation:

 

Acts 2:21And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

 

This promise is confirmed through Paul in Romans 10:13.  What does it mean to “CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD”?  It means simply that we call on God as a repentant, obedient believer who worships and prays to God.

 

Read Genesis 13:5-13 – Abram and Lot Separate

 

v.5-6And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 6And 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.”

 

            We already knew that Abram was blessed materially by God, but now we find that Lot was also.  In fact their wealth of herds became so great that the fertile Jordan valley east of the mountain spine that runs north and south through that region was not sufficient to support both families and the Canaanites that also lived there.  We aren’t told just how big these herds of animals were but it seems that they covered several square miles.  Riches frequently become a source of strife and contention between people and especially in families.  Just as we’re reminded by Paul:

 

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” I Timothy 6:9  

 

v.7And 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.”

 

            So as a result of each man’s servants trying to his best for his master, they strive over the pasture land and water needed to support their flocks and herds.  Not only is there strife between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot but there are other people living in this area who had need to support themselves as well.  As was common during this era in man’s history they probably have flocks and herds also.

 

v.8And 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.”

 

            David in his inspired writing gives us wisdom from God:

 

“BEHOLD, HOW GOOD AND HOW PLEASANT it is FOR BRETHREN TO DWELL TOGETHER IN UNITY!” Psalms 133:1

 

Abram did not want trouble between his family and that of Lot.  He already knew and understood the admonition that we’re given through Paul:

 

Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? 8Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.” I Corinthians 6:7-8

 

v.9Is 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 makes a most equitable proposal to solve their problem.  It has become obvious that they must separate because the land won’t support them both so Abram tells Lot, you choose which way you want to go, I’ll take the opposite or which ever way is left.  What is it that is taught in the chapter in Romans that tells us how to “DO” the way of the Lord?

 

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18  

 

God through the Hebrew writer gives us an additional stipulation:

 

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” Hebrews 12:14

 

v.10And 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.”

 

            When we look at the land of Palestine, especially the valley of the Jordan, today we don’t necessarily see the land of “MILK AND HONEY” that God promised Israel do we?  But at the time of Abram and Lot the entire Jordan Valley was well watered and was rich in vegetation, support for herds and flocks even “AS THE GARDEN OF THE LORD” or the Garden of Eden.  Jericho, which sits in the middle of this area is called the “CITY OF PALM TREES” in Deuteronomy 34:3.

 

v.11-12Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 12Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.”

 

            Lot makes a choice.  He chooses to go to this well-watered, fertile and lush land in the Jordan Valley.  We’re told that while Lot may have kept his herds and flocks that he moved into the cities of the plain, cities that were peopled by descendants of Canaan.  What was apparently the primary influence on his decision?  It was the material wealth that was to be gained, a worldly decision that ignored his spiritual well-being.  One commentator even suggests that he was already spoiled by his sojourn in Egypt.  He winds up in Sodom, a decision that brings more grief than he could have imagined.

 

v.13 “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.”

 

            Lot is described in II Peter as being “JUST” and “VEXED” by the sins of his neighbors and calls him a “RIGHTEOUS MAN.”

 

And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)” 2 Peter 2:7-8

 

So the sins of Sodom didn’t cause Lot to abandon God but this would indicate that he suffered anguish, trouble and trial simply because he lived in among the filth and degradation of their sin.

 

Read Genesis 13:14-18 – God’s Repeats His Promise to Abram

 

v.14-15And 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: 15For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.”

 

            After Lot is separated from Abram, God repeats his promise to give him the lands of the Canaanites.  It would almost appear that it is through God’s providence that the households of Abram and his nephew are separated; Lot to his own devices, Abram to God’s purpose.

            God repeats the promised that he had made to Abram that we studied in chapter 12:

 

Genesis 12:7And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.”

 

A promise that God repeats in Genesis 15:18 and again in Genesis 17:8; a promise that was repeated to Isaac, Jacob and even to Moses just before he died, showing him the land that God would not allow him to enter because of his sin.

 

Deuteronomy 34:4And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.”

 

At the same time Abram did not and would never own this land, it was not given to him but promised to his seed even though at the time the promise was made Abram and Sarai had no seed:

 

Acts 7:5 And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.”

 

v.16And 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.”

 

            We find this promise repeated also at various times; Genesis 15:5, Genesis 22:17, etc.  But we also find Israel being numbered at various times during their sojourn.  When did God bless the descendants of Abram to the extent that they were so many as to not be numbered?

 

I Kings 4:20-21Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry. 21And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life.”

 

God blessed them when they were faithful, when they lived under the King David and his son Solomon and obeyed and worshipped God.  In addition, when we include the numbers of spiritual Israel then we really begin to understand the vast numbers of the descendants of Abram:

 

Romans 4:16 16Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,”

 

v.17-18Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. 18Then 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.”

 

            God tells Abram to walk through the land, survey, inspect, see the land which I will give your seed after you.  So he moves south again from Bethel to Mamre, near Hebron, into the middle of what would become the land of the tribe of Judah.  Here he again builds an altar and worships God just as he did when he first entered the land from Haran.