We have here an account of a gracious visit which God paid to Abram, to confirm the promise to him and his. Observe,
I. When it was that God renewed and ratified the promise: After that Lot was separated from him, that is, 1. After the quarrel was over; for those are best prepared for the visits of divine grace whose spirits are calm and sedate, and not ruffled with any passion. 2. After Abram’s humble self-denying condescensions to Lot for the preserving of peace. It was then that God came to him with this token of his favour. Note, God will abundantly make up in spiritual peace what we lose for the preservation of neighbourly peace. When Abram had willingly offered Lot one-half of his right, God came, and confirmed the whole to him. 3. After he had lost the comfortable society of his kinsman, by whose departure his hands were weakened and his heart was saddened, then God came to him with these good words and comfortable words. Note, Communion with God may, at any time, serve to make up the want of conversation with our friends; when our relations are separated from us, yet God is not. 4. After Lot had chosen that pleasant fruitful vale, and had gone to take possession of it, lest Abram should be tempted to envy him and to repent that he had given him the choice, God comes to him, and assures him that what he had should remain to him and his heirs for ever; so that, though Lot perhaps had the better land, yet Abram had the better title. Lot had the paradise, such as it was, but Abram had the promise; and the event soon made it appear that, however it seemed now, Abram had really the better part. See Job 22:20. God owned Abram after his strife with Lot, as the churches owned Paul after his strife with Barnabas, Acts 15:39, 40.
II. The promises themselves with which God now comforted and enriched Abram. Two things he assures him of—a good land, and a numerous issue to enjoy it.
1. Here is the grant of a good land, a land famous above all lands, for it was to be the holy land, and Immanuel’s land; this is the land here spoken of. (1.) God here shows Abram the land, as he had promised (Gen. 12:1), and afterwards he showed it to Moses from the top of Pisgah. Lot had lifted up his eyes and beheld the plain of Jordan (Gen. 13:10), and he had gone to enjoy what he saw: “Come,” says God to Abram, “now lift thou up thy eyes, and look, and see thy own.” Note, That which God has to show us is infinitely better and more desirable than any thing that the world has to offer our view. The prospects of an eye of faith are much more rich and beautiful than those of an eye of sense. Those for whom the heavenly Canaan is designed in the other world have sometimes, by faith, a comfortable prospect of it in their present state; for we look at the things that are not seen, as real, though distant. (2.) He secures this land to him and his seed for ever (Gen. 13:15): To thee will I give it; and again (Gen. 13:17) I will give it unto thee; every repetition of the promise is a ratification of it. To thee and thy seed, not to Lot and his seed; they were not to have their inheritance in this land, and therefore Providence so ordered it that Lot should be separated from Abram first, and then the grant should be confirmed to him and his seed. Thus God often brings good out of evil, and makes men’s sins and follies subservient to his own wise and holy counsels. To thee and thy seed—to thee to sojourn in as a stranger, to thy seed to dwell and rule in as proprietors. To thee, that is, to thy seed. The granting of it to him and his for ever intimates that it was typical of the heavenly Canaan, which is given to the spiritual seed of Abram for ever, Heb. 11:14. (3.) He gives him livery and seisin of it, though it was a reversion: “Arise, walk through the land, Gen. 13:17. Enter, and take possession, survey the parcels, and it will appear better than upon a distant prospect.” Note, God is willing more abundantly to show to the heirs of promise the immutability of his covenant, and the inestimable worth of covenant blessings. Go, walk about Sion, Ps. 48:12.
2. Here is the promise of a numerous issue to replenish this good land, so that it should never be lost for want of heirs (Gen. 13:16): I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth, that is, “They shall increase incredibly, and, take them altogether, they shall be such a great multitude as no man can number.” They were so in Solomon’s time, 1 Kgs. 4:20; Judah and Israel were many as the sand which is by the sea in multitude. This God here gives him the promise of. Note, The same God that provides the inheritance provides the heirs. He that has prepared the holy land prepares the holy seed; he that gives glory gives grace to make meet for glory.
Lastly, We are told what Abram did when God had thus confirmed the promise to him, Gen. 13:18. 1. He removed his tent. God bade him walk through the land, that is, “Do not think of fixing in it, but expect to be always unsettled, and walking through it to a better Canaan:” in compliance with God’s will herein, he removes his tent, confirming himself to the condition of a pilgrim. 2. He built there an altar, in token of his thankfulness to God for the kind visit he had paid him. Note, When God meets us with gracious promises, he expects that we should attend him with our humble praises.
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