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The history of the Patriarch Abram, is continued through the whole of this Chapter. He is still in his pilgrimage state, wandering and removing under the guidance of Heaven, from one place to another. His wealth is here particularly noticed; as also his remarkable piety. But troubles beset him. A strife between his servants and the servants of his kinsman Lot, soon causeth them to separate from each other. Lot removes eastward towards the fruitful plains of Sodom, and Abram remains still in Canaan.
Genesis 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.
It will be profitable to remark in this place (considering it spiritually) how the Lord, in the several ages of the church, hath led his people down into Egypt, and brought them up again. Genesis 46:34 ; Hosea 11:1 ; Matthew 2:15 ; Revelation 11:3
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;
Bethel; that is the house of God, made remarkable by divine manifestations, Genesis 28:19 ; Genesis 35:1
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.
Such are all creature comforts! See 1 Timothy 6:9
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.
And is it not a serious question, whether the disputes and contentions among the professors of godliness, do not give occasion frequently to the enemy to blaspheme?
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.
Sweet and endearing argument! Oh! that it were more generally made use of, and its power more generally felt. Canaanites and Perizzites may quarrel; for nature untaught, unrestrained by grace, hath corruptions to beget it. But let not you and I, who profess to be disciples of the lovely and all-loving Jesus; John 13:35 .
And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
See the cause of this mistaken choice, 1 John 2:16 ; Ezekiel 16:49 .
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:
Observe God's renewed visit to Abram. How much better was the patriarch in a barren land, with God for his portion, than Lot in all the fruitfulness of Sodom, amidst the filthy conversation of the wicked.--Reader! pause to remark, how abundantly the presence and favour of Jesus, compensate the absence of earthly friends.
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.
If the Reader wishes to observe, how very precious the exercise of Abram's faith was upon this occasion, I refer him to the account of it in Stephen's Sermon: Acts 7:5 .
Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
Was not this a type of Emanuel's land, the glory of all lands? And is not every true believer like the patriarch, called upon to enter upon the possession of it by faith here, before he comes to the realizing of it hereafter? Psalms 48:12 ; Hebrews 11:14 .
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.
Still in a pilgrimage state. Observe Abram again builds an altar. And what doth his conduct in this instance teach, but this, that it is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, in all places wheresoever a gracious God meets his people, in the visits of his love, that there they should raise a memorial of tribute to his praise?
AMIDST all the competitions, strifes and jealousies, which this world's goods excites among men in life, let Abram's portion be my portion. Let me but be able, in a well-grounded assurance to call Jesus mine, and I value not what sinners value of the perishing things of time and sense. Precious Redeemer! it is thy favour which gives a sweetness to every joy, and softens every sorrow. Let the cisterns of all creature-comforts be dried up, if thy wisdom see it fit: the stream of thine everlasting love will still flow. And while, like the prophet, I can Truly rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of my salvation it matters not, even if the fig-tree doth not blossom, neither fruit be in the vine.
Methinks this gracious call of God to Abram, which is always sweet in mercy, is uncommonly so in this instance: lift up thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art. And is not the same in effect said to every believer? Lift up thine eves, and behold in every direction, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward, how all mercies and promises are continued to the faithful, in the Covenant of grace which is in Christ Jesus. All are yours saith the Apostle, if ye are Christ's; whether the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come. Blessed God! May it be my mercy to enjoy all things in Jesus, and Jesus in all things!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Genesis 13". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17