Genesis 13 is a chapter of redemption for Abram. We left off in Genesis 12 with Abram in a compromised position in Egypt. While he was away from the land of promise, Abram had lied to Pharaoh about Sarai being just his sister. Pharaoh then took Sarai into his harem and was about to marry her, when he found out that Sarai was actually Abram’s wife. This unbelieving Pharaoh then rebuked Abram the man of faith for his sin, and then sent him out of Egypt. Abram was not in a good place spiritually at this point in his life. However, in chapter 13 Abram began to make some good decisions, and started by returning to the land of promise. You could say, Abram returned back to his first love, by calling on the name of the LORD.
A new beginning for Abram. Vs. 1-3
Scripture records, “Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South. Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the LORD” (Gen. 13:1-4).
Abram now traveled up from Egypt to the South. The word South literally means the Negev. The Negev desert is in the southern part of Israel, and covers a vast amount of territory. But Abram did not stay in the Negev. He continued on north to Bethel, which is about 20 miles north of Jerusalem. Notice that this new beginning for Abram is described as returning to the place where he had set up his tent at “the beginning.” Bethel is where he had first entered the land of promise and worshipped God. Abram came to the altar he had made at the “first.” Then Abram called on the name of the LORD, which is the personal name of God, Yahweh.
The way the text describes this return to the land are the reasons I believe this was a renewing of his relationship with the Lord, as well as a recommitment to God’s will for his life. I don’t believe Abram should have gone down to Egypt for several reasons. First, look at the total fiasco that occurred in Egypt and how Abram dishonored his wife and his God. Second, when you read Genesis 12 you will notice that God did not direct him at any time to go down to Egypt. I believe the famine in the land was a test for Abram to show him that God could provide for him during this time. The Lord must always be trusted as our provider. God had revealed this truth to David when he wrote, “Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine” (Ps. 33:18-19). God provided for David for years while he was in the desert running from Saul and his army. Consequently, for Abram to return to the land of promise, to the first place where he worshipped, I believe was a demonstration of his return to his first love. Abram was returning to a place of faith. He was recovering himself from his stumbling while in Egypt. I wrote earlier in our study that Abram’s life is a revelation that he was not a perfect man, but a man of faith, a man who knew where to go when he needed to make things right with God. Always remember that there is no stumble or fall that ever needs to be permanent. Why? Because you can turn around at any point and return back to the Lord and He will have mercy. Isaiah declared this very truth when he wrote, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Is. 55:7). That is exactly what Abram did. He called on the name of the LORD. What does the Scripture promise to those who call on His name? In Psalm 145:18 it declares that, “The Lord is near to those who call upon Him, to those who call upon Him in truth.” If you are reading this and have been struggling or stumbling in your walk with Christ, humble yourself, confess your sin, and call upon His name. He will abundantly pardon and draw you near to Himself, and you will sense His love, forgiveness and empowering once again. But you must ask! We have not, because we ask not (James 4:2). If you ask in faith, He will give you the wisdom you need to turn around, and get headed in the right direction. The Apostle James also said, “If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally” (James 1:5). Alexander White said, “The victorious Christian life is a series of new beginnings,” and Abram had his new beginning in Bethel, and so can you!
If you have left your first love, you too, can have a new beginning. Never forget what Jesus said to the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2:4-5. Jesus said, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent.” This is a message that is so vital for every believer. Jesus makes it clear that if an individual or a church falls out of love with Him, it is a very serious thing. Jesus will never take second place in your life. He must be first! He must be your first love! Do you remember what it was like when you first came to realize what Christ had done for you, and the love that motivated Him to pursue you? Didn’t you sense that passionate love in return for Him? This is why the Apostle John said, “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). This is why Jesus told the Ephesians to remember what they had lost, and then to repent and to begin living for Him as they did at the beginning. If they refused to repent and return to their first love, Jesus warned them of the consequences, that the light of His presence would be removed from them. This means that your first love for Him is a very important issue to Jesus. That is exactly what Abram understood, and why he returned to his first worship site in the land of Canaan.
Further consequences of Abram’s trip to Egypt.
Sometimes people read this account of Abram’s return from Egypt and they think, Abram made out pretty good. He came back a wealthy man. He lied a little, and deceived a little and nothing really bad happened to him. That’s a pretty good deal. They think this because Scripture declared, Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South. Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold (Gen. 13:1-2). When a person thinks in this way, they begin to believe that there are no consequences for lying and deception. But this is foolish thinking. There will always be real consequences for any sin, even if you don’t see the consequences right away. I have already explained in a previous study what the consequences were for taking Lot with him when he originally left his home, but there were more consequences for going down to Egypt that aren’t immediately seen. You have to read the rest of the story to see these consequences. What were they? When Abram came home from Egypt, he brought back with him an Egyptian handmaid, Hagar. Later in the story of Abram’s life, she became the source of great conflict in his family. This conflict ended up fracturing Abram’s family, and bringing untold sorrow to Abram and Sarai, to Hagar, to her son Ishmael, and to the whole world. This error in judgment by Abram and Sarai and the strife that resulted in tearing this family apart, has continued to this day in the Israeli/Arab conflict in the Middle East. If Abram had not gone to Egypt, Hagar would never have come back with Abram, and all the problems that resulted in their lives and our world today might not have occurred. Therefore, never think that there are not consequences for your sin. This is why Solomon declared, “He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow” (Prov. 22:8). You can count on this truth becoming a reality in your life and the lives of those you love. Paul also agreed when he said, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Gal. 6:7-8). So, when you begin to think foolishly about sin, or that there are no consequences for foolish behavior, remember that God will not be mocked.
In addition, Lot did not fare any better. We read later in this chapter that when Lot returned to the land of Canaan, he and Abram had so many flocks and herds of sheep and goats that they had a conflict over where their animals would graze. Abram acknowledged that the land could not sustain both of their huge herds of animals. So, Abram asked Lot to choose the valley or the hill country. The Scripture declared that, “Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD” (Gen. 13:10-13). Lot made his choice to pitch his tent next to the wicked city of Sodom. This was not a good choice for him to make. A short time later we see Lot had become one of the elders of the city of Sodom, and he was sitting in the gate of the city (Gen. 19:1). Ultimately, when God judged the city of Sodom, Lot lost almost everything, including his own wife. So, Lot’s decision ended up becoming his family’s destruction and the loss of all his possessions. I have heard this testimony from so many throughout my ministry. Foolish choices that bring the destruction of all that a person holds dear. Therefore, don’t play with sin, and choose wisely where you pitch your tent!
The consequences for sinful and foolish behavior are real. But Christians will never hear about the consequences for sin in many churches today. However, you must understand that anyone can be forgiven of their sin, but they will also have to live with the consequences of that sin. People don’t like to hear or think about this fact, but it is true. Most people hope that grace, mercy, and forgiveness will take care of any consequences they face because of their sin. But this is not reality! Even Jesus still bears on His body the marks of the sin He paid for on the cross (Rev. 5:6). It is very likely that He will bear in His body these consequences of the world’s sin as a testimony for all eternity just what it cost to redeem us all. You must never forget that grace, mercy, and forgiveness will always resolve your sin before God, but they will not erase the effects of your sin upon others. God may also choose to chasten you because of His love for you. The writer of Hebrews makes this point when he wrote, “You have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.’ If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons” (Heb. 12:5-8). The writer of Hebrews continues to remind believers that this is exactly how they as fathers deal with their own children, and how their fathers corrected them. He declared, “Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:9-11). This passage explains why God allows consequences, and why even our earthly fathers chastened us. It was to train us to walk in righteousness even though it was painful at times for us.
Think for a moment, what would happen if God removed all the consequences when we sinned. What would happen? First, we would immediately begin to abuse the grace of God, because our sin nature would reason, God isn’t going to do anything when I sin. If all I have to do is ask forgiveness, and everything is okay, why not continue to sin? This is exactly what some were doing in the early church, which is why Jude wrote his stinging rebuke in Jude 1:3-7. Second, if God never corrected us with the consequences for our sin, we would eventually conclude that God didn’t care what we did, which would appear to us that He was condoning our sinful behavior. Yes, this is the way sinners think!
The consequences we see here in Genesis 13 with Abram and Lot are only one such example. There are many more examples of consequences that we have already seen here in Genesis. There were the consequences of Adam and Eve being put out of the garden after their sin, Cain becoming a vagabond after killing his brother, and Noah’s family having a conflict after his drunkenness. My point is that there will always be consequences for our sin, specifically because of the sowing and reaping principle in God’s Kingdom that I mentioned earlier. The question is, which side of the sowing and reaping principle will you be on? Will you reap life or death, joy or sorrow, freedom or bondage (Gal. 6:7-8)?
The conflict between Abram and Lot. Vs. 5-13
This is one of the tests that Abram experienced after leaving Egypt which he passed with flying colors. This conflict did not arise because of famine as before, but because of wealth, because both Abram and Lot had become very wealthy men. It declares in Genesis 13:5-6, “Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents. Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together.” It is important to note that they both had many flocks and herds, many tents, and their possessions were so great that the land could not support them both. This circumstance is what created the strife between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot.
It is important to note that Abram’s solution was to find a compromise and a solution to the problem. Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left” (Gen. 13:8-9). This is such a powerful example of godliness and wisdom. Abram didn’t want any strife within the family, so he proposed the simplest compromise possible. Abram allowed Lot to make the choice of where he wanted to graze his flocks and herds, and Abram would take the remainder. The Scripture declares that, “Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD” (Gen. 13:10-13). Lot chose for himself the cities of the plain, which was the fertile Jordan valley, and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. But it didn't seem to bother Lot much that the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful.
Lessons from this conflict.
The lessons from this story are many, but here are a couple important ones. The first is that wealth and possessions can many times bring conflict between friends and family members. I have told people often that when you accumulate many possessions, you then have to spend a lot of time thinking how you are going to keep those possessions. This scenario is exactly what caused this conflict with Abram and Lot. This conflict was caused by simple covetousness. Can’t you hear the herdsman say to each other, “Hey, this is my grazing spot, what are they doing here? Go somewhere else.” Then the conflict filtered all the way up to Abram and Lot. During the early time of our nation’s history, I wonder how many range wars occurred where people’s homes were burned, and families were driven out of the territory by a more powerful land baron because of grazing rights. All these confrontations took place because of the covetousness of the heart over land and money. One of my favorite authors, Warren Wiersbe, once said, “The heart of every problem, is a problem in the heart.” Oh, how true! When the disciples were charged with not obeying the Pharisees’ tradition of ceremonial hand washing, Jesus taught them, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man” (Matt. 15:19-20). Jesus also taught the disciples that the cause of every divorce resulted from the hardness of one or both hearts within a marriage (Mark 10:5). In addition, Jesus declared that men’s speech is also determined by the heart. In Luke 6:45 He taught, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” These are just a few of the teachings of Jesus that make it abundantly clear, we all need to check our hearts when strife and conflict occurs.
The second lesson from this story is the fact that Abram became the peacemaker in this conflict, and refused to let this conflict divide them. Some will say, “But, they still separated from each other, and went their own ways.” But we know that this separation did not destroy their love and family connection with each other, because when Lot was taken captive in a war that occurred in Genesis 14, Abram was the one who came to rescue him. Therefore, Abram’s peacemaking allowed the family relationship to continue. This is why being a peacemaker is so important. Remember, Jesus is the One who commanded us to always seek reconciliation with those with whom we come into conflict. He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9). Following the biblical road map for how to reconcile with others is essential.
What is this biblical roadmap for reconciliation? First, Jesus taught that we should personally go to anyone who has offended us when He said, “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector” (Matt. 18:15-17). If believers would simply follow this counsel there would be very little gossip in the church. Why? Because we would be going alone to meet personally with an individual with whom we had a conflict. This would keep us from going and telling all our friends about the offense. Jesus also taught that if you know that someone is upset or offended by you, then you are again responsible to go alone to seek reconciliation with them. Jesus explained how important that this was to Him when He taught, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison” (Matt. 5:23-25). How important is it to Jesus that you find reconciliation with your brother? It is so important to Jesus that He doesn’t want you coming to worship Him, until you get the problem resolved with your brother. How many court cases would never occur if believers would simply obey Christ’s commands?
But what if your brother refuses to reconcile with you? Then you should take two or three witnesses with you and confront the person again. If they continue to reject your efforts to reconcile with them, then you are to take the matter to the leadership of your church and ask an elder or pastor to try and mediate one more time (Matt. 18:16-17). Then you let the church leadership deal with this individual, because they are not acting like a true Christian if they refuse to reconcile the conflict.
All believers should be willing to reconcile with those with whom they have a conflict. But this requires a believer to be wise, humble, willing to yield, and unselfish. James explained this truth when he wrote, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:13-18). Note the characteristics of true godly wisdom. If each of us had these character qualities, we would be able to resolve most issues easily. So, the next time you have a conflict with someone, first compare your attitude with this passage. Then make sure you are taking the steps Jesus commanded you to take when there is strife. Remember also Paul’s exhortation, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Rom. 12:17-19). As much as depends on you, live peaceably with others. This is some great advice.
The geographical location of Sodom.
There has been long disagreement among Bible scholars and archeologists about the location of the city of Sodom. Many believed for years that the city was located at the southern end of the Dead Sea at various locations, but researchers have never found any artifacts to substantiate that people lived in these locations during the time of Abram. Others believed that the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah were hidden beneath the waters of the Dead Sea. But again, even with the receding levels of the Dead Sea over many years, there has never been found any evidence to prove this assertion.
Then along came Dr. Steven Collins, archeologist and Dean of the College of Archaeology at Trinity Southwest University in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He states in his book, Discovering the City of Sodom, that he was reading the text of Genesis 13 and found some interesting geographical details of Sodom’s location.
What are these clues that he found? Notice first where Abram and Lot are when they have their conflict. They were near the cities of Bethel and Ai. These cities are located in the hill country approximately 20 miles north of Jerusalem. When Lot makes his choice for where he will go, he looks east to the well-watered plain of the Jordan valley (Gen. 13:10-11). What area is directly east of the cities of Bethel and Ai? Directly east is the Jordan valley with a huge alluvial plain where the flood waters of the Jordan River enter the north end of the Dead Sea. So, Lot traveled east and he pitched his tent as far as Sodom (Gen. 13:12). Jericho is directly east of Bethel and Ai, and Sodom is directly east of Jericho. If you are interested in this issue, I would strongly suggest reading, Discovering the City of Sodom by Dr. Collins as he lays out each step in this discovery of Tall el-Hammam, which is the Jordanian name given to this site.
I was so fascinated by this discovery that I began following the excavations taking place there, and then decided to work as a volunteer at the excavation site in 2018. I spent two weeks digging in the destruction matrix of the city palace which was enormous. Over the many years that Dr. Collins has excavated Tall el-Hammam he has found that this city was destroyed in an instant by a catastrophic event that blew every house and every wall off their foundations in a northeast direction. They have found skeletal remains that were actually blown into the mudbrick walls by the powerful explosion that happened over this site. Also, they have found mudbricks that have been melted into glass on one side with the mudbrick left intact on the other side. When they tested these mudbricks in two different labs, the labs estimated that the bricks were subjected to over 18,000 degrees in order to melt these bricks in this fashion. This is very powerful evidence, because this is exactly what the biblical text declared came from Heaven. God rained fire and brimstone, or burning rock, upon this city because of its great wickedness (Gen. 19:24).
New blessings and promises for Abram. Vs. 14-18
Note that once Abram separated from Lot, the Lord spoke to Abram and renewed His promises to him again. The Scripture records, “And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: ‘Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are--northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.’ Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the LORD” (Gen. 13:14-18).
Now isn’t it interesting that Scripture gives this supplemental information concerning this entire encounter with the Lord right after Abram separated from Lot? Why does God renew His promises to Abram at this moment? I believe it was a declaration to Abram that he had finally accomplished what God told him to do years before. Abram was to get out of his country and from his family, and from his father’s house, and go to a land that God would show him (Gen. 12:1). Now Abram had fully completed the task that God had given him, and was separated unto the Lord alone. This is what God was after with Abram. He wanted Abram disconnected and removed from anyone that might influence him contrary to God’s purposes for him. God also wanted Abram united to Him and His heart that He might make him fully the man of faith that He intended him to be. Did you know that God did the same thing with Paul and Barnabas in the New Testament? God spoke to the church and said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2). When God wants to use a person for His purposes, the Lord will want their hearts separated unto Him. This is why Peter commanded all believers to, “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). The word sanctify in this verse means to set apart, make holy, or consecrate your heart to God. To be separated unto the Lord is what pursuing holiness is all about (Heb. 12:14). This will then give you the character necessary to complete the call that God has given you. Without a heart separated unto Him, you will surely fail.
Lift up your eyes.
God then commanded Abram to lift up his eyes and look all around him and see that this was the land that He had promised to give him and his descendants. There is an obvious play on words in this text that is surely intended. Scripture tells us that, “Lot lifted his eyes and saw the plain of the Jordan…Then Lot chose for himself all of the plain of the Jordan” (Gen. 13:10-11). But God told Abram to, “Lift your eyes now and look,” to see what God had chosen for him as an inheritance (Gen. 13:14). Lot chose for himself, but God chose for Abram. This is a very important contrast made in these verses. The lesson you should learn from this story is that when you let God do the choosing, He will give you a much better deal than if you chose for yourself. Clearly, God gave to Abram greater blessings and much greater promises than he could even comprehend. Abram had no children at this point in his life, but God promised that his descendants would be like the dust of the earth.
Now, do you realize that God has done the very same thing for you by giving you His promises? In Ephesians 1:3 Paul said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ.” Notice that God has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ, even though some believers today may not be experiencing these blessings. These blessings are still all yours in Christ, but you and I need to receive them by faith, just as Abram needed to believe and receive the promises made to him. You also need to obey God’s commands just as Abram needed to obey God’s direction for him. You need to let Him direct your path just as Abram had to allow God to guide him to His land of promise.
The two most important conditions necessary for you to experience God’s blessings are faith and obedience. If you have received Christ as Savior and Lord over your life, then simply trust and obey Him. This is what makes all believers children of Abraham. This is what Paul taught in Galatians 3:29 when he wrote, “If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Note that the writer of Hebrews put these two requirements of faith and obedience together. He declared, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise” (Heb. 11:8-9). Therefore, by faith you too must obey what God has commanded you!
Abram moved his tent. Vs. 18
Once God had given these promises to Abram, the Scripture records that he made another move back to Hebron. “Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the LORD” (Gen. 13:18). Hebron is a city approximately 25 miles south of the city of Jerusalem. Hebron now became the semi-permanent living place of Abram. He and his wife were buried there in the tomb he bought more than 3,700 years ago. Isaac and Jacob, Abram’s children, were also buried in Hebron. This move was most likely because of the need for more grazing land for his flocks and herds. Bethel, Jerusalem, and Hebron are all situated in the hill country of the land of Israel. Today when you visit Israel you will notice that the land is quite barren with few trees and very little grazing land for sheep and goats, but during the time of Abram the area looked very different. How do we know this? Because of the many references in Scripture to the forests in the land of Israel (Joshua 17:15; 1 Sam. 14:25-26; 1 Sam. 22:5; 1 Sam. 23:15). What happened to all the forested areas in Israel? During the Ottoman Empire there was a railroad that passed through Israel, and they cut down almost every single tree to support the steam locomotives. These trains hauled goods and services back and forth through the Middle East. The land used to be very fruitful and was also full of wildlife, including lions and bears, because Scripture tells us that David killed both (1 Sam. 17:34-37). Today the land of Israel is being slowly reforested. Since the rebirth of the nation in 1948, Israel has planted hundreds of millions of trees, which have even increased the amount of rainfall in the land.
The last thing that you should notice in verse 18, is that after this move takes place Abram again built in Hebron an altar to the LORD. Abram did the very same thing just as he did when he first came into the land, and what he did also in Bethel. He built this altar to the LORD as a declaration of his faith and surrender to God. Abram was a man of worship in a very personal way with a God who was very personal with him. The word LORD in this text is the personal name for God, Yahweh or Jehovah. Abram was a man of faith, and his faith led him to worship the God who had revealed Himself to him several times. If God has revealed Himself to you, then you too should become a worshipper of Yahweh. All those who have a personal and true faith in the One who lives, and was dead, and is alive forevermore, should bow before Him today (Rev. 1:18). Do you have this kind of a personal relationship with the LORD? If you do, it will lead you to be one who worships Him daily! And one day we will all fall down before Him and cast our crowns before Him because He is worthy! As the Scripture says, “Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: ‘You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created’” (Rev. 4:9-11).