2 Corinthians 13
“When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking brazier with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram…” —Genesis 15:17-18
We know that Abram believed God’s promise and it was credited to him as righteousness. But at this fourth reaffirmation of God’s commitment to give Abram the land, he wanted some certainty. So he asked, “Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I shall gain possession of it?” (Genesis 15:7-8).
God is true to His Word. However, in His grace, to set Abram’s mind at peace, He sealed His promise with a covenant. The LORD instructed Abram to gather various animals and birds, cut them in two, and arrange them in two parallel lines (Genesis 15:9-11). This mirrored the ancient Near Eastern cultural practice of sealing covenants. Both parties would walk through the carcasses of the animals, which in effect symbolically states if either party did not carry out their part of the deal, they would be treated like one of the animals. Also, if either party breached the covenant made, their life would end like the sacrifices that were made.
What is fascinating is that this promise was one-sided. Abram was not required to pass through the offering. God walked through it by Himself, as if to say, “I will do all this by My own great name, My own great power. I guarantee it. It will require nothing of you.”
Yet, before God passed between the animals, Abram fell into a deep sleep and a thick, dreadful darkness came over him. God gave him a glimpse of the future, saying, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and ill-treated there. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves....In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here....” (Genesis 15:13-16).
Not only did God establish a formal covenant agreement with Abram, but He also gave him a glimpse of how all this was going to come to pass. God revealed that there would be some generations of pain before the promise came to fulfillment. Abram’s descendants would be enslaved, mistreated, and face centuries of oppression, but Exodus, the very next book of the Bible, records how God was faithful to His covenant and delivered His people just as He promised.
Like Abram, we may get worried, afraid or weighed down by the concerns of this life, but also like Abram, we have the full assurance of God’s faithfulness. As believers, we also enter into a covenant with God, a covenant of salvation ratified not by the blood of animals but His own blood on the cross—a covenant we can trust He will be faithful to as He was to His covenant with Abram.
PRAYER: Sovereign Lord, Your promises are sure because You are always true. Thank You that I can place my complete trust in You. Praise You!