Abram: Do you remember what you said, God? You said you would give me a child. I was old then. Now I’m older. And still no child. I don’t know what I’m doing. It makes no sense. But you said, “Go,” so I did. You say, “Do not be afraid. I am your shield and your great reward.” But the very thing you promised me still hasn’t happened. How am I supposed to keep going on like this in blind trust? And even if I could, how am I supposed to convince my wife!
God: I made this covenant with you. Today I remind you of what I said. Every word is true. And I’ll show you how trustworthy I am. Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon. Cut them in two except for the birds, and make a bloody path between the pieces. Now…you’re getting very sleepy…
12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” -Genesis 15:12-16
As the day came to a close, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. The symbol of God Himself appeared and passed through the pieces that both parties would each walk through as they “cut a covenant.” Abram watched as God took it upon Himself to fulfill both parts of the covenant. And the sovereign Lord said,
“To your descendants I give this land,from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.” -Genesis 15:18-20
This is the God who covered Adam and Eve with animal skins because their own effort of fig leaves was insufficient. This is the God who would send His only Son, Jesus, to accomplish for humankind and indeed the cosmos what we could never do or undo for ourselves. This is the God of The Great Story. He’s no Joker. On a dark night, He showed Abram His true character and revealed that there is no length to which He is unwilling to go in order to rescue, redeem, restore, rebuild, and renew the lost and the broken. This is our defender, our shield and our great reward. Today He is worth our trust, our allegiance, and our worship. His plan is good.