Genesis Chapter 15:
(1) After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
(2) And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
(3) And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
(4) And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
(5) And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
(6) And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
(7) And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.
(8) And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?
(9) And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.
(10) And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.
(11) And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.
(12) And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
(13) And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
(14) And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
(15) And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
(16) But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
(17) And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.
(18) In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
(19) The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,
(20) And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims,
(21) And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
Thought For This Chapter…
In this account, we find a very unusual event… a furnace and a lamp passing between pieces of a heifer, goat, ram, turtledove, and pidgeon that has been divided and laid out on the ground…
(17-18) – …And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying,…
What in the world is going on here? God describes the meaning of this type of ceremony in Jeremiah…
(18) And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof,
In other words, God is affirming that a He has entered into an agreement with Abraham concerning giving the Promised Land to Abraham’s descendants (vs 19-21) during the time of Moses.
The idea is this, the two sets of responsibilities laid upon the parties of the agreement are symbolized by the two halves of the animals laid next to each other. The parties of the agreement passing between the pieces represents their acceptance of their joint responsibilities and reaffirms their intention to fulfill them.
In this case, we have a smoking furnace and burning lamp passing between these pieces. Both of these symbolize the parties of the covenant during the time this covenant would be brought to fulfillment. The smoking furnace, represents the future Israelites suffering under the harsh treatment in the “furnace” of the Egyptians during Moses’ time. And the burning lamp is representative of Christ, the Light of the World, who appeared to the Israelites as a pillar of fire by night to lead them to the Promised Land.
In this night vision, we have God confirming the convenant has been made and that it would be brought to completion in the days of Moses.
This reminds us of the faithfulness of our Lord. What a blessing it is to know that when our Lord makes a promise to us, He will ALWAYS keep His Word!
Why can we have such certainty? Because God is faithful to us on behalf of Christ and His work on our behalf, and the indwelling Spirit’s presence in our lives…
(19) For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, … was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.
(20) For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
(21) Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
(22) Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
What a wonderfully faithful Lord we serve!