Then Abram Went Up from Egypt (Genesis 13:1-4)
After his encounter with the pharaoh in Egypt, Abram and his household returned to Canaan—the land God had promised him in Ur. Stated in simple terms, the text draws our attention to Abram’s impressive wealth as he re-entered the land.
Described as literally heavy or weighty with goods in the original Hebrew, the record leaves no doubt that while in Egypt, God used pharaoh to greatly prosper Abram. Not only was Abram’s prestigious wealth observable, his name was revered.
“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.”
Abram resettled his household in the valley between Bethel and Ai described specifically as, “the place of the altar which he had made there at first” (v.4). The altar is noted as a geographic marker specifying Abram’s return to the same location where he had previously pitched tents.
Here, Abram again called on the name of the Lord (v. 4). While some commentators suggest Abram’s actions signify that he sought restoration of fellowship with God after being in Egypt, the text does not necessarily support the assumption. The fact that God had protected, preserved and prospered Abram in Egypt seems to negate the argument.
Rather, at the altar where he had previously called on the name of the Lord, Abram prayed to God (Gen. 12:8). His practice of worshipping the One-true God continued as before (cf. 12:8).
Abram’s act of worship confirms he was focused on the future and the fulfillment of everything God had planned for him. The altar located between Bethel and Ai stood as a monument testifying of Abram’s commitment to the One-true God.
Abram and Sarai returned from Egypt with deeper insight into the character of God and new found confidence that He could be trusted in the uncertainty of life.
Abram’s experience is exemplary for any who choose to live the life of faith (Gal.3:7-9). Pursuing God’s will takes us into uncharted territory often with unavoidable challenges.
The outcome of Abram and Sarai’s experience in Egypt is a reminder that God is not only attentive to our circumstances, but often brings material blessing through unexpected means.
1) The Bible is the FOUNDATION for Life. (Used for illustrative purposes) (Photo credit: Pixabay/[Public domain]/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios)
2) Pharaoh Restores Abram His Wife. (Used for illustrative purposes) (By Wenceslaus Hollar, 1607-1677/[Public domain]/Wikimedia/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios)
Copyright © 2016 Charles E. McCracken, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.