On his pilgrimage through Canaan, Abraham built three altars. They point out the three most important aspects of life in the Promised Land, that is, in Christ. Each aspect was sanctified by an altar. Let's see what each one means.
Shechem (Genesis 12:7): Shechem means shoulder, which is the place of greatest strength in man. Canaan is the place of God's victory, where the enemies are cast out for good. God has provided us with provision in Christ so that we can be whole, satisfied, and strong. This is the victory on the individual level, the personal satisfaction that is possible to achieve in Christ. It is the first necessary step, which ensures the realization of the higher planes to come.
Bethel (12:8; 13:4): Bethel means House of God. Although we are satisfied and strong in Christ, we are still individualistic and independent. It is necessary to see the house of God, that is, the church, the body of Christ. When the cross has operated inus and we are enlightened with respect to the Body, then we become one, and individual life disappears. Then Shechem must become Bethel.
It is probable that the lives of many Christians have not yet reached this reality, which is why many of God's promises remain unrealized. They don’t experience the wealth of the body, only that of the individual. Only in the house of God are the higher riches of the Christian life experienced. While Christians could once enjoy full communion in solitude, in the manner of great mystics, the times we live in are so fierce and dangerous that God has provided this collective refuge, where the gates of Hades do not prevail . An isolated Christian today is a rarity and a risk. In the midst of the church, the presence of Christ is not only in us, but with us.
Hebron (13:18). Hebron means union or fellowship. If Bethel represents the life of the body of Christ, Hebron represents the principle of living that life. Beth-el leads us to Hebron. Without fellowship, the children of God cannot advance very far. It is necessary to live the life of the body, that is, to give and receive, correct, and accept the correction of the other members.
In the midst of the church, in this fellowship of brothers, the life of Christ is distributed, fed back, and strengthened. The weary are encouraged, the oppressed are liberated. He who has, can give; he who does not have, can receive. The valleys are raised, and the mountains leveled so that all come to be at the same height before God.
No one is so great that he should not receive, or so small that he cannot give. Nobody is too much; nobody stops reaching the grace of God. Everyone has a place, everyone has worth. In Hebron, the greatest spiritual victories are achieved, and Christ is glorified. No other name, but his, shines and is raised.