Canaan Given to descendants of Abraham: Genesis 15
The term 'covenant' is derived from the Hebrew word "berith",
which means to cut, or cutting. It is used in various transactions
between God and man, and man and his fellow beings.
In verse one God declares that He is the shield of Abraham.
God has just granted Abraham victory in battles (chapter 14). He
protected Abraham. The implication for Christians today is that we
fight spiritual battles by faith (Gen. 15:6; Ephesians 6:16).
God also reveals a great reward for Abraham (v.1). This reward
is twofold: heavenly (Hebrews 11:10) and earthly. In this passage
only the earthly reward is discussed. Having no children of his own
Abraham wondered what good a reward would do in his old age. God
assures him of physical descendants which will multiply and become
countless like the stars. And Abraham believed (v. 2-6; Hebrews 11:12).
"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who
comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of
those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).
V.7-22. God reaffirms the purpose why He called Abraham from
Babylon (the symbol of rebellion), to a promised land called Canaan,
a land of rest in God. The Bible says that the wicked are never at
rest; hence one can find rest and peace by surrendering to God alone
in Christ Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30).
A piece of real estate is promised to Abraham. So in effect,
Abraham asks, where is the title, the legal document of ownership
(v.8)? God took Abraham to the local Notary office to seal the
deal. But in ancient time, the system is different.
Animals are cut and placed on two sides with a path in
between. The persons entering the covenant will walk through as a
symbol of declaration that should one party fail to keep its part,
the other party has the right to cut the delinquent into two -- that
is, impose death penalty. (See Jeremiah 34:18-20 for a biblical
This covenant is as serious and sacred as life itself. As
binding as the constitution of a nation. By this covenant God
deeded Canaan to Abraham and his descendants (v.12-21). (God-
willing, shortly I hope to write a simple article on the present-day
conflict between Jews and the "so-called Palestinians" --- it will
help you understand the situation better).
Notice one glaring omission here: Abraham fell into a trance
and did not walk between the carcasses (v.12). All the significant
works of God are not achieved by human efforts, but by God working
through men and women who are called. That is why life in the
Spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit is the only way true works
of God are accomplished. (John 6:63; Acts 1:8; Ephesians 5:18,
etc.) (Anyone entering full time Christian ministry ought to learn
how to fast and pray and move in the power of the Spirit).
There is no doubt God will maintain His part of the covenant;
and knowing Abraham and his descendants will fail to fulfill
their part, God entered into it on their behalf (because the
covenant is deemed complete even without Abraham walking between the
God passed between the pieces in the form of smoke and fire
(v.17). Four hundred years later (v.13), this same God led the
children of Israel, on the way to Canaan, by a pillar of cloud by
day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22).
The question remains: Who will die when Abraham and his
descendants violate the covenant? God will provide, for He walked
between the covenant animals on their behalf.
This is where Jesus steps in. Read John 1:1,14,29. See also 1
Timothy 3:16. God loves the world and did for them what they could
not do (John 3:16). What a wonderful and loving God we have. Live
for Him and share your faith. Support those who are sharing the
Gospel with your prayers and your finances. Remember, God rewarded
Abraham, and He rewards all those who walk in faith and obedience.
AMAZING LOVE! HOW CAN IT BE,
THAT THOU MY GOD, SHOULDST DIE FOR ME?