Genesis 15:7 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.
As we witness the continual saga of corruption in our country, it is good that those who are saved, can trust in the true God. He does not falsely accuse anyone. He does not hide from responsibility. God never lies and He does not need to have spin doctors to try to cover His tracks.
In our text, God once again promised Abram that he would inherit the land of Canaan. God reminded Abram that He, the LORD, brought Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees. Abram left with some of his family, but it was the LORD who moved him out. The LORD was separating him from his family so that he could continue to unfold His promise to Abram. God had a plan. His plan was going to be fulfilled. Abram needed to submit to God’s plan.
In verse 8 we see that Abram addressed the LORD in a different way. Here Abram called Him “Lord GOD.” The Hebrew word translated as Lord is speaking of the sovereignty of God and that He is the Master. Abram is acknowledging his submission to the true God. The Hebrew word translated here as GOD speaks of God as Jehovah. Abram is adding extra emphasis to the fact that the LORD is in charge of his affairs and yet in the context, he is asking this Master and LORD how he can know that he will inherit the land he is standing on.
In verse 9 the LORD gave Abram another assurance of His promises. Abram was to take a 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.
In verse 10 Abram did as he was told and he divided them and laid the pieces one against another but he did not divide the birds. We read as well that there was a path in between the pieces. Possibly the two halves of the one animal close to each other and then a space to walk in-between that animal and the next animal.
We have no other Biblical passage to help us to understand what the significance of this scene was. Obviously Abram understood what was going on. God gave this to him for a sign. It is suggested that the animals being split in two and then laid side by side would be a reminder that there were two parties involved in this covenant that the LORD made with Abram. If either side would break the covenant, then they should be cut in two as these animals were.
In verse 11 we read that the fowls came down upon the carcasses and Abram drove them away. The meat eating fowls were all unclean fowl. God sometimes used fowl to give a picture of the world and of the devil. Later in the book of Genesis, Joseph would interpret a dream of the butler and the baker. The butler would receive his job back, but the baker would be hung and the birds would come and eat him.
In the New Testament God spoke of the mustard seed growing to become a large tree. When this tree is grown, the birds would come and nest in it. Some people look at that illustration as a sign of the massive church growth that will come. They see it as a positive. Jesus gave it as a negative. The growth of the seed into this large tree and the birds lodging in it speaks of the corruption that will take place and in fact is taking place now in Christendom. Many people are willingly running after false teachers and accepting their perversion of Christianity and living under that lie.
In our text, we cannot say with certainty what God was teaching Abram, but Abram understood what God was doing. He was the one who had the questions and he is the one who needed the answers.
Interestingly, we know that some years later, God did divide the nation of Israel into two parts. This happened due to the sin of Solomon. Israel became a weakened nation and due to their continue rebellion, both sides went into exile.
In verse 12 we read that Abram grew weary with his task of protecting the meat from the birds. He fell into a deep sleep and he was very afraid in the midst of that sleep.
In verse 13 the LORD spoke to Abram in the midst of that deep sleep. He reminded Abram of what was coming. Abram’s seed would be a stranger in a land that was not theirs. They would be afflicted in that land for 400 years. In verse 14 God reminded Abram that He would be well aware of what was going on and He would judge that nation and then He would bring Abram’s seed out of that land with great substance. The nation of Israel would have great possessions when they left Egypt.
In verse 15 Abram was promised that he would go to his grave in peace. He would live to a good old age and he would be buried. We have talked about burial versus cremation in the past. Burial is the method that born again Christians should choose. Cremation gives a very real and sobering picture of the judgment of God upon the lost.
In verse 16 Abram was reminded that in the fourth generation, his descendants would come back to this land that he was standing on. However, the iniquity of the Amorites was not full yet at that time. God would give the Amorites another four hundred years to see His mighty hand and repent and trust in the true God. We know they did not do that, but they were given the opportunity to do so.
In verse 17 we see that while Abram slept and was not able to look after that raw meat he had laid out, God took care of things. He had a smoking furnace and a burning lamp there to pass between those pieces. God took care of things in that matter, and He would take care of things regarding His promise to Abram.
In verse 18 we read that in that same day, the LORD made a covenant with Abram. In that covenant He assured Abram that that land was given to Abram’s seed. He stated the boundaries as from the river of Egypt unto the great river Euphrates.
In verses 19-21 the LORD listed the nations that would be removed from the land when Israel would move in. The world today speaks of Israel “occupying” the land they are in. That is false. Israel was given that land by God. They were removed from that land, by God, in the days of the kings. That removal was due to their sin against God. They were also brought back into that land in the days of king Cyrus. The Romans eventually took over that land and claimed sovereignty over it, but it was not theirs to keep. God gave part of that land back to Israel in 1948. The nations of the world backed away from helping Israel re-establish herself in that land. Some of them watched in anticipation of the Arabs taking that land from Israel. God did not allow that to happen. Israel is in part of their land today. It is theirs because God gave it to them. In reality, it is God’s land and He gave it to Israel for a possession. They are to be stewards of that land. To this day, Israel is not recognizing God’s sovereignty over that land and over them. God is blessing them but not as He could and will. In the Millennium, they will witness the blessing of the LORD as never before. The entire world will witness that at that time.
Abram was assured that God’s promise was sure. He was also told that it would take another four hundred years before his descendants would live and rule in that land. Abram was promised that he would die in peace and he would rest in the promises of God after death as well. Abram had nothing to worry about. God had a purpose in what He was doing and it would all work out for His glory.
God’s people need to learn to trust God. We need patience. Those who are saved are promised a home in heaven. We are also promised trouble on this earth. If we stand for the truth as we must if we are saved, we will face opposition. Sometimes that opposition will be more fierce than at other times. Through it all, God will be with His children. He wants us to exalt Him and make Him known to a lost and dying world. We cannot do that when we choose the world over God. God works in the hearts and lives of His children to separate them from the world. He wants others to be saved as well. That is what the gift of salvation is all about. It is given to those who repent toward God and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Those who are saved, are saved to be a light to others that also need to be saved. A light is different than the darkness. A light is designed to dispel the darkness. That is what God expects of His children. He is the Light and He provides all that is needed for His children to walk in the Light.