Abram, The Furnace, And The Burning Lamp.

Genesis 15:5-11

” Then He (Jesus) brought him (Abram) outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”  And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

Then He said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.”  And he said, “Lord God, how shall I know that I will inherit it?”  So He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. 11 And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

14A04712-B0C8-45AC-93FF-3815FB3E0DDF

In Chapter 12 of Genesis, God had appeared to Abram, blessed him, set him apart, and promised He would make him into a great nation.  He would become the father of the Jewish people.

God Confirms His Covenant.
Then in Genesis 15, He again came to Abram and confirmed His covenant with him. But Abram wanted to know how he would know that he would inherit all God told Him.  As a sign between them, the LORD had Abram bring to Him the five animals mentioned in the opening passage to be sacrificed.
Five, in case you didn’t know, five is the number of grace, which is the kind of covenant God was going to make with Abram.  It was not like the one which would come some 450 years later at Mt. Sinai.  This one was unconditional, without any curse, and still in effect today.
You may follow the link below to read all about why 5 is the number of Grace if you are interested:
Anyone wishing to know more about the meanings of the animals and offerings, you may follow the link below to a complete study of the subject:
Cutting A Covenant,
Abram knew what was coming.  In the culture of his day, as in many in the world today, covenants were “Cut” between two parties.  Both participants, as a sign of their vows, walked what was known as, “The walk of death.” It was called, “Cutting a covenant,” because it always involved the shedding of blood to seal the deal. God was going to do this with Abram.
In preparation, Abram divided in half the heifer, the goat, and the ram, but left the birds intact as they are too small to split in two. He placed each of the divided pieces of the three larger animals opposite it’s other half.
91028CC9-6B9D-4BA2-9ED9-F4F406D61712
 As you can imagine, there was blood everywhere, all of it was spilled on the ground on the path in between the animals. The parties to the covenant would walk the path between the animal pieces on top of the blood.  In so doing, each was swearing on pain of death that they would keep their part of the bargain.
But if either did not live up to their part, they were saying, in essence, “May I be split asunder as these animals if I fail.”  The penalty was death, which is why it was called, “The walk of death.”
Sleeping Partner.
Now of course, God is certainly able to keep His part.  There is no concern that He going to fail in any aspect at any time, anywhere.  But what about Abram?  He is human.  He is fallible.  Was he going to be able to hold up his end of the bargain?  NO WAY!  He was certainly going to fail at some point.  And even if he somehow kept his part, one of his descendants would certainly fail.  That would make Abram liable for the covenant and he would have to die.
Well God, in His mercy, wanted him to have all the benefits of the covenant without being liable for it.  How would He do that?  How was He going to be able to preserve Abram from such a heavy liability?  He had a plan! Let’s follow the story…

“12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram; and, see, an horror of great darkness fell on him. 13 And he (God) said to Abram, Know of a surety that your seed (descendants) shall be a stranger in a land that is not their’s, 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 (Wealth). 15 And you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come here again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”

4EBD7CB5-0FB6-4EA2-AB29-5EF8C67C7410

Why did God put Abram into a deep sleep? Because, as you read in the opening scripture, He saw what was happening.  Abram was racing around, trying to keep the vultures away from the split animals.  While that sounds like a noble idea, it is actually a picture of man trying to serve God using his own strength, a picture of self-righteousness.
We humans are always trying to help God out, aren’t we? Like Uzzah who reached out to steady the Ark, or like Sarai who told Abram to have a child by her maid, Hagar, we’re always getting our sticky fingers into things.  But does God need our help?…..at all…..?  Big fat NO!!!
Was He able to preserve what Abram prepared at His command?  Yes.  He doesn’t need the Uzzahs or the Sarai’s of the world to steady the Ark or produce an heir through their own strength.  He that promised is faithful.  He will bring it to pass in the fullness of time and it will be VERY GOOD!
God wasn’t going to allow Abram to use his own works which were doomed to failure. So basically, He knocked him out; put him into a deep sleep.  He did not want Abram to have to be the one to walk between those pieces and become liable for the covenant. But if he was asleep, who was going to walk the path? Who indeed!
Prophetic Dream.
While he was asleep, Abram had a prophetic ream about his descendants.  He saw their 400 years of enslavement in Egypt; he saw their great deliverance.  Then his dream continued…..
F4D94104-D044-4F2C-9E32-8E25AFD4124D
 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.”
WHOA!!!  Did you catch that?  Before Abram Could walk on the bloody ground, GOD PUT HIM TO SLEEP and two Others walked between the pieces:  The “Burning lamp” and the “Smoking Furnace.”  
Hmmm…..a pillar of fire and a pillar of smoke. Sound familiar? It should. These same two pillars lead Israel through the desert!  What, or more to the point, Who were they?  JESUS AND THE FATHER!  Jesus is the Light of the World, the One Who became liable for the covenant on our behalf to His satisfy His Father’s fiery wrath against sin!
4EFDFC7B-0F79-4A16-8639-D6A3EA9E4337
What man couldn’t do, God did for us.  He knew we would try to keep our end of the bargain and that we would and utterly fail.  So He not only kept His part…..He also kept OUR PART!  Father and Son are the “Covenantors;” And you and I are the sleeping-partner “Beneficiaries!”
What an AWESOME message the Holy Spirit has given us in the story of the Abram, the Furnace, and the Burning Lamp!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s