When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces… -Genesis 15
1984 light blue Volvo station wagon
Phone – Roy
Flesh – PT cruiser
Asks to drive it
What do you do? Call Police
They find it
When questioned: “I assumed it was fine b/c that nice man gave me they keys to his car.”
But he didn’t give me the money for the car!
I’ve never heard of that. What a great idea.
b/c understand how business works
If you fail to do your part: consequences
- Contracts / Forms / Sign when using credit card
- Buying houses / Trading Horses / Funyons @ gas station
Two parties agree: I’ll give you twenty six dollars a year, you give me twelve issues of Horse And Hound.
It works b/claw enforcement and justice system.
Don’t pay 4 funyons: call police
4,000 years earlier, who did you call when someone didn’t uphold their end of the deal?
Before law enforcement, insurance, car titles, wireless transfers, cashiers checks and 911 numbers – how did people ever trust each other to uphold their end of the deal?
How did business ever get done if there was no one to call?
I’ve simplified, but
Basically an oath. To do your part.
- Get an animal (cow, ram, goat, dove.)
- Chop it in half (yup)
- Lay out the halves forming an isle.
- Stand side by side & state that you’re going to uphold (You: I will provide one 1984 light blue Volvo Station Wagon that makes an ominous rattling noise over 63mph. Roy: I will pay $2713 dollars for the privilege of owning such a majestic vehicle.)
- You’d walk between the animal halves and said something like “May I become like these animals if I fail to uphold my end of the covenant.”
Powerful. Culture w/o law enforcement, this is what they had.
BTW: Phrase “cut a deal”
God – huge promises to Abraham – tribe coming from his offspring. New kind of tribe.
Abraham: “What can you give me since I remain childless…?”
(Kicks bible into gear. God “father of a nation” – no kids for long time.
God takes him outside – look at the stars, “so shall your offspring be” – AKA Lots of kids.
“Abraham believes the Lord and he credited it to him as righteousness.”
In ancient world: God’s were angry.
This story is a God who is planning good.
God “I’m going to give you some land.”
“How can I know I’ll get this land?”
God: “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram…”
“Abraham brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other…”
God doesn’t have to tell him. Already knows. Cutting a deal.
While setting up, sun sets & in the dark
“a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.“
God reaffirms promises & story ends.
Wait, what? That’s the end of that story? Yup.
What’s the deal with the smoking firepot? Sign of the presence of God.
So God passes through the animals alone? Yes.
But if God and Abraham are making a covenant, why doesn’t Abraham pass through the animals? Wasn’t that how you cut a deal-BOTH parties agreed to do their part? Yes. But this story, God only one.
So what’s the point? God commits to upholding both ends of the deal. Even if Abraham fails to do his part, this God will be faithful.
Early on – pointing to God’s faithfulness
Noahic (No-Aye-Ic) Covenant
Not dependant on his actions
- Starts – wicked
- Ends Kindness not dependant
Messiah would come through his line.
Preacher – two people up – “Then what makes you think God is returning for an unfaithful bride?”
His faithfulness despite our unfaithfulness is the point.
If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is. (2 Timothy 2:13)
Summary of scripture:
Despite the unfaithfulness of His people, the one true God of a mischievous Middle eastern nation remains faithful, even unto death, and rescues us all.