Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 13:17-18

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.

There is something very satisfying in God’s command to walk the length and breadth of the land, to feel out the whole of it. Even if Canaan was more humble than the plain of Jordan I get excited by the idea of Abram taking stock of the land that God is giving to him.

Maybe this stands out to me because my wife and I recently bought our first single-family home, and I very much enjoy walking between its borders, too! There is something so exciting about having a place of your own. Large or small, lavish or humble, it is the foundation to build your future from.

And now, at long last, we have Abram living fully within the boundaries of Canaan, the place that will be the backdrop for most of the Biblical record. In fact, all of the stories that Abram is best known for will all begin from here.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 13:10-12, 14-16

10 And 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.

11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.

12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.

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.

Abram was very decent in how he handled the conflict between his and Lot’s workers. In order to maintain the peace they needed to have enough space, and that meant separating from one another. Having determined this, Abram gave Lot the first choice of where to go. After comparing the two halves Lot took the better portion and Abram accepted the lesser.

And all this helped bring Abram into greater alignment with God’s plan for him. Long before, God had told Abram to go to Canaan, for that was to be the land for his inheritance, and now, at last, Abram was finally dwelling fully within Canaan’s borders. And there, in that promised land, Abram was met by reassurances from God that the covenants that had been made to him years before still held firm.

Just a few months ago God met me in the mountains with reassurances as well, telling me that promises and intentions He had for my life are still in full force. In our dealings with other people it is easy to wonder if the promises they’ve offered have expired, or if they’ve forgotten about them, or if they just don’t want to follow through on them anymore. But God reminded me that He isn’t petty, forgetful, or changing. That though time and circumstance may undo the pledges of man, those do not weigh on the covenants of God.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 13:5-9

5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.

6 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.

7 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.

8 And 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.

9 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.

Abram’s story has thus far been a family affair. He began with father, three brothers, and a nephew, and one-by-one his kin have been left behind while he continued through his journey. First his brother Haran died when the family lived in Ur of the Chaldees. Then the family left for Canaan and another brother, Nahor, elected to stay behind.

Abram, his father Terah, and his nephew Lot then came to rest in Haran, but eventually Abram’s father died and the Lord called Abram to travel farther. Abram and Lot sojourned together, to Beth-el, then to Egypt, then back to Beth-el, but now even they are going to part ways, taking Abram away from his last companion outside of his own household.

Bit-by-bit Abram has been made more and more alone as he grew into the man he was to become. And this is true for all of us. The more we develop into the individual God intends for us, the more we outgrow our previous trappings and the more we venture into unmarked waters, until we become an isolated pioneer. And then, even if family and friends are around us physically, we walk alone in spirit with our Maker. There, in the privacy of His hand we are transfigured into our full potential.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 13:1-4

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

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

3 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Hai;

4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.

Abram’s story highlights the mysterious ways that God works in. First there was that famine which got Abram into the land of Egypt, where he would accumulate great wealth, the beginnings of his future kingdom. But Egypt was not supposed to be the land of Abram’s inheritance, Canaan was. So then there arose the dispute about Abram’s wife, another blessing in disguise, which pushed out of Egypt and back to his prior home on Canaan’s outskirts.

Abram has returned home, but he is not the same as when he went out. As we will see in the next verses he has grown too big for this place, the old clothes don’t fit anymore. God led him away to obtain the things that he needed, then led him back to continue his larger story.