June 5 I Tuesday
2 Chronicles 23-24
“Abram brought all these to Him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other... When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking brazier with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.”
—Genesis 15:10, 17
In ancient days, agreements were not ratified the way they are today. We sign legal documents to acknowledge we agree with the terms and conditions contained within, but the cultures of the ancient near east performed rituals like the one described in the opening verses. The parties would produce a heifer, goat, ram, dove and pigeon, which they would sacrifice, cut and arrange in specific ways. After the terms were set, both parties would walk through the pooled blood between the animals to confirm their agreement.
When Abraham asked God how he could be certain he would gain possession of the land, they underwent a similar ritual. After instructing Abraham to set up the animal pieces, God caused him to fall into a deep sleep and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the Lord said to him, “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” (Genesis 15:13). For those 400 years there would be silence from heaven, but God then promised they would return to their homeland of Canaan. To confirm these terms, He manifested Himself in the form of “a blazing torch…and passed between the pieces.”
These could not have been easy terms to hear. When God first promised Abraham 10 years earlier that his descendants would be a great and numerous people, he likely imagined their bright and shining future as a blessing to the world. The idea of centuries of slavery would never have entered his mind! But now, 10 years later, it is as if God was saying to Abraham, “Don’t bring your agenda to bear on this. Like these animals, you must die to your own agenda, expectations and timetable.” Abraham surrendered to the will of God and saw the day of Christ.
When we take these truths to the New Testament, there must also be a dying with Christ if our lives are to be fruitful. This means we must die to our own ambitions and ideas. We must die to our need to know the details, consequences and outcome of what God has called us to. God is not looking for people to devise their own plans and rely on their own resources, but for those who will implement His plans and work in dependence on Him. Paul tells us, “The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it”
(1 Thessalonians 5:24). We must allow God to work in our lives as He chooses because He who has set the terms is utterly faithful and totally capable of accomplishing His purposes through us.
Prayer: Almighty God, keep me from formulating any agenda of my own in accomplishing a work You have called me to. I trust Your direction and wait upon You to bring it to fruition. Thank You, Lord.