While reading Genesis 13,14, and 15 for the Salem or Sodom series this idea started to stand out, Abram did things and “after” they were done new things opened for him. Actually “after” seems to be a theme in Abraham’s life but I will start with the Sodom story. Genesis 13:14, 14:17, and 15:1 all have an example of “after.”
Genesis 13:14 Lot has finally left Abram and went east to the Jordan River valley in order to separate what must have been a large camp of shepherds. Lot and Abram were living in the highlands between Bethel and Ai along the main highway that ran north to south in the country. Abram gave Lot his choice and he went to the lowlands and eventually pitched his tents outside of Sodom. Abram in chapter 12 had received two promises but “after” Lot left God’s message was to physical go claim his promise. He left Luz (Bethel) an area of springs and probably almond trees (luz = almonds) and went south past Salem to Hebron to live by an ally.
Genesis 14:17 is the second “after.” Abram has just rescued Lot when Bera comes out of hiding and tries to influence him but God sent Melchizedek king of Salem to support Abram. Abram chooses God and gets blessed, tithes, and puts the king of Salem in his place. Even though Bera got the people and the goods it is very possible that Abram’s speech made him an enemy.
Genesis 15:1 is the last “after” in the Sodom story. This one could be placed in Hebron and if Josephus’ telling of the story is correct God is reassuring Abram that He will reward him. This is where a son is promised to Abram and he and God do a blood covenant. (That bloody scene of walking between animals cut in half is how a covenant was cut. Basically if you break covenant this is what happens to you.) I just wonder if Abram was thinking about the kings he had defeated and the ones he may have insulted.
With these examples of “after” Abram does something and God has an increase for him. Many times we as Christians have to “step out the boat” before we find God has already prepared the situation and us for us to get a blessing.
Some of the other “afters” in Abraham’s life are found in Genesis 18 when God says he will instruct his household that will come and chapter 22 and his testing with Isaac.