Saturday, July 14, 2018

Genesis Post 28 - Abram and Lot Split Up (Chapter 13)

Chapter 13 opens with the account of Abram back in the land, only now he is loaded with riches.  He journeyed back to the altar that he had built in Bethel (which means House of God).

It is quite possible that this altar near the House of God spoken of  was built on the Mount of Olives which was located in what was to eventually become Jerusalem.  The Mount of Olives overlooked the future site of the Temple, or the House of God.  That particular spot was and is highly prophetic in the plan of God.

And it was at this place that Abram called on the name of the LORD, which is not really "LORD" but Yehovah (some say Yahweh or Jehovah).

We read that Lot came along, too.  Was Lot in Egypt?  We don't know.  Either he was, or he met up with his uncle somewhere when Abram returned.

These guys were now so wealthy that the land where they were was not able to support all their flocks and herds together.  Their respective herdsmen - probably the locals who were Canaanites and Perizzites - were fighting with each other.  They were fighting over every blade of grass and every drop of water, both of which were scarce in the land.  It was time to part ways.  

Abram, wanting to keep the peace with his nephew, kindly offered him the first choice of land.  Lot looked around and chose the well-watered plain of Jordan, which at that time included the fertile land of Sodom and Gomorrah. 

Lot journeyed east.  I've spoken about the direction of east before.  It is the direction that is opposite of blessing. 

Abram stayed to the west, and Lot pitched his tent in Sodom.  Big mistake.  The residents there were very bad dudes, as we will soon see.  But the land was lush, and that is why Lot chose it.  At the time, it was the best land.

In verses 14-17, the LORD reiterated His promise to Abram:
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.”

Can I just share my favorite Abrahamic art again?
Look at all that prophetic dust on the ground!

The chapter wraps up with Abram moving his tent to the grove of terebinth trees at Mamre, which was in Hebron.

Wait.  Terebinth shows up again.  What exactly is it?  According to botanists, it is a varietal of a pistachio tree, from which turpentine is extracted.  The botanical name is pistachia terebinthus.

Scholars have identified a symbolic meaning to this tree to include as memorials to death, and also mighty or sturdy, and also representing knowledge of right and wrong which leads to peace and smoothness.

Wow.  Having visited Hebron myself, I can clearly see how these meanings are manifested even today.  The burial place of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, and Leah is right there today in Hebron.  The site is covered by a massive building that was erected by Herod the Great.

Tomb of the Patriarchs, Hebron
One side of the building is the Jewish side, and the other side is the Muslim side, and never do the two meet.  In fact, the Jews were only allowed back into the building when Hebron was liberated in 1967.  Before that, the Muslims would only let them ascend to the seventh step on the outside of the building.

So what does Mamre mean?  And Hebron, for that matter?

Mamre means strength or fatness.  And Hebron means conjunction, or joining.  

Some day, when the Messiah returns, the knowledge of right and wrong will be complete and will lead to peace and smoothness.  The two divided sides of the tomb will be joined together under the rule of one Messiah!

But once again I am getting ahead of myself.  In a few chapters, we will come back to this very significant place.

To continue this series, click here.

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