Materials: ruler, or a rock (that’s all I had!)
Abram’s father, Terah, had moved his family from Ur to Haran. It’s in Haran that God approaches Abram with a promise.
Main Events of Genesis 15:
(Hold up the ruler.) I am going to place this on the ground and leap over it. I promise I can do this! (Put ruler about 1 foot in front of you and leap over.) Now I’m going to put the ruler this far away from me and I will leap over it. I promise!! (Put the ruler farther away, but still close enough to easily jump over.) Now I’m going to put the ruler over there and leap over it from here. Should I make this promise? (Put ruler 7-8 feet away from you so it is obvious you cannot leap over the ruler.) Why should I not make this promise? (It isn’t within my human power to make the promise true.)
God can do anything. And whatever He says He is going to do, He will do. He is trustworthy, and a man named Abram decided to trust God. One day God came to Abram and He made a promise to him. God promised that He would 1) give Abram land; 2) turn his family into a great nation; 3) make his name great; 4) bless all the families of the world through him. So God made this promise, or to match our object picture, He placed the ruler down on the ground and then said He was going to leap over it. Can God leap over the ruler?
God told Abram to leave Haran and go to the land where He showed Him to go. Eventually Abram got to the land of Canaan and settled there. So at this point God has come through on 1 part of the promise: land. There is a problem with part 2 of the promise. Abram has no children, no son. And Abram asks God, “How will I know that these promises will come true?”
Then God did a strange thing. He asked Abram to get a young cow, ram, goat, turtle dove and a pigeon. He told Abram to cut the cow, ram and goat in half and place them a few feet apart from eat other, making 2 columns. Then on each end Abram placed a sacrificed bird (not cut just dead). Then Abram waited on the Lord. As he waited, Abram chased the vultures away from eating the meat of the sacrificed animals. Then God caused Abram to fall asleep. And then…God leaped over the ruler! Not exactly, but the Lord appeared as a torch, an all consuming fire, and passed between the pieces signifying that He would keep His promise. (Click HERE for more information about Blood Covenants.) At this point, Abram “knows certainly” that God will keep His promises.
Life Application of Genesis 15:
When God made this covenant with Abram, He was basically telling him “Everything I own is yours; and everything you own is mine. We share everything equally.” If one was to ever break a blood covenant, he was to have a certain and horrible death. God would always keep His part of the covenant, but humanity could not. It just isn’t possible. So in order for the covenant to be kept, a Man who COULD obey the covenant had to appear and take the place for humanity. And so it is Jesus who takes our place and goes through the horrible death of the blood covenant for us. With the death of Jesus, we “know certainly” that if we believe in Him, we will have eternal life.
What promise have you made recently?
**Cartoon used by permission from christiancliparts.net