Back to Bethel

“And Abram went up out of Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him into the south…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; unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.”  Genesis 13:1, 3-4

After the events that was recorded in Genesis chapter 12, Abram took all he had, himself, his wife, his family, his possession and went out of Egypt. He went back to the place where God had called him to.  After he went back to Canaan, he first stayed in the south.  But he didn’t stop in the south.  He didn’t stay there.  He wasn’t satisfied to just be in the land of Canaan.  He journeyed on, to Bethel, the house of God.  He somehow knew that he had to go back to the first place where he had began, back to the first love that he had left.  He had to go back to where his tent(tabernacle) had been at the beginning, and that is between Bethel and Hai.  Hai means a heap of ruins.  So he’s back in between the house of God and a heap of ruins.  More importantly, he was going back to the place of the altar that he had build for the Lord.  That was the place where he had first called on the name of the Lord.

There are many interesting points in the passage of the Scripture.  But what caught my heart was the meaning of Hai or Ai, which means a heap of ruins.  This reminded me of the Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress, who had left the City of Destruction and is onward to the Celestial City.  And just as Abraham who’s sojourning in the land the Canaan, we also are fellow travelers on the road to the Celestial City.  We have left Hai, a heap of ruins behind, and marching onward to Zion, the dwelling place of God.  God had in His infinite mercy and grace brought us out of the kingdom of darkness and destruction and have translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.  Oh, how we should rejoice and be glad!  How we should be full of thanks and gratitude to the Lord.  Yes, we camp now between Hai and Bethel, but we are not going back to that heap of ruins, by His grace, we are heading towards the House of God.

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