Genesis 15: God’s Covenant with Abram

June 15, 2023 ·

Summary:
In a vision, God speaks to Abram, and Abram expresses his confusion, saying, “How can I become a great nation when I have no children?” God reassures Abram, saying, “Trust me!” Moved by faith, Abram places his trust in God. Subsequently, they engage in a peculiar ceremony involving the cutting of animals precisely in half, which serves as a confirmation of the covenant between them. God informs Abram about the forthcoming 400 years of his descendants’ time in Egypt and also reveals the specific land that his offspring will inherit.

Key verses:

  1. After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.
  1. And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
  2. And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

My thoughts:
This chapter is truly remarkable, showcasing the intimate relationship between Abram and God. It is a special time dedicated to Abram and God, where God provides encouragement to Abram. Abram is initially perplexed about how he can father a nation when he has no sons, and he expresses concern that his heir might be Eliezer of Damascus. However, in the end, Abram simply trusts in God, and his faith is recognized as righteousness. Paul references this in Romans 4:3 as an example of salvation through faith rather than works. Even before the time of Jesus, God was willing to attribute righteousness to those who demonstrated faith.

When reading this passage, you might wonder why God instructed Abram to cut animals in half and arrange the pieces opposite each other, and then pass through them with a smoking firepot. I have been told that this was a customary ceremony of the time, often performed between a powerful king and a weaker king, as a means of establishing a deal between them. Essentially, the powerful king would provide protection, while the weaker king would offer financial compensation. In this case, God was entering into a covenant with Abram. God promised to watch over Abram and his future nation if they followed Him and placed their trust in Him. This ceremony served as God’s confirmation to Abram that He would provide.

God placed Abram in a deep darkness to symbolize the darkness that his descendants would endure during their time in Egypt.

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