In the book of Genesis we read of the many promises the LORD made to Abram, He promised him that He would make him a great nation and all the families of the earth would be blessed. The LORD promised that He would make all his descendants as the dust of the earth and his descendants would number as the stars. He promised him the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession and He promised him a child, a child from the womb of Sarah, a child called Isaac. Abram believed in the Lord and the LORD accounted it to him for righteousness.
A whole host of questions arises when we think and study about the Covenant God made with Abraham, but my mind stopped to ponder when in my reading I came to Genesis chapter 15 verse 8. The Lord had said to Abram “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it” and Abram asked: (verse 8)
“Lord God, how shall I know that I will inherit it?”
The 4th chapter of the book of Romans gives us such a rich explanation of Abraham and I turned back and forth, back and forth between the OT and the NT seeing how we must interpret the old with the new. Romans explains to us very well that Abraham did not waver at the promise of God because of unbelief but was strengthened and fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform, but here in Genesis he asks the Lord God…..’how shall I know’? I am sure that each one of us has asked the same question one time or another during our Christian journey, seeking assurance from God, especially during times of struggle.
God answered Abram with a custom of the land, a custom of the Chaldeans to confirm His oath. The custom to bind an agreement once reached by the parties was to ‘cut a covenant’. An animal was cut in half and the two parties would pass between the halves acknowledging that the fate of the animal would be theirs if they broke the terms of their agreement. They would be saying in essence “if I fail to keep this agreement and break the covenant then you can do to me what we have done to these animals”. Abraham would have been familiar with this custom and so he brought the animals the Lord required and he cut them in two and placed each piece opposite the other.
A deep sleep fell upon Abram and when the sun went down and it was dark, behold in his vision Abram saw God in the appearance of a smoking oven and a burning torch pass between the bloody pieces alone to confirm to Abram that the promise was true and would be kept. God, by solemn ceremony swore by Himself. This was done to signify that the covenant was unilateral and unconditional. Hebrews 6:17 "Wherein God, more abundantely to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath" We can easily pass by this event represented by one Scripture, but we should give it much meditation and much thought, so as to know as Abraham knew.
How shall I know that I will inherit the promise he asked, how shall we know that we will inherit the promise? The answer for us is the same answer God gave to Abraham. The covenant has been fulfilled in Christ who said, “This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28
“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise”. Galatians 3:29