1 So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. 2 Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.
3 From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier 4 and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the LORD.
On travelling back up from Egypt, Abram eventually returns to the place where he had built an altar to Yahweh. After the faithlessness witnessed in chapter 12, he returns to the place of commitment. It in this place that Abram again calls on Yahweh’s name.
Is this an act of penitence or a request for guidance? Is Abram trying to repeat his experience – the appearance, the revelation from God? Does God respond or is it a one way thing?
In the face of his mistake and his humiliating retreat from Egypt, Abram returns to the place he has known before. Retracing his steps, reforming his starting point. Reminding himself of the place of his encounter after his unfortunate detour into Egypt. Last time he’d been here, he’d just come from a meeting with God where he was shown the land he has been promised.
Perhaps he needs to revisit such things, to be reminded of his purpose.