The 15th chapter of Genesis concerns what theologians call The Abrahamic Covenant. Chapter 12 and 17 also speak about Abraham’s relationship with God as well.
Our focus will go from each aspect and we will draw applications as we move through the chapter.
15:1-6 is perhaps one of the most important passages of Scripture because it tells us how Abram had righteousness deposited to his account. To begin with Abram and God discuss the issue of Sarai’s (Abram’s wife) barrenness. In Middle Eastern culture it was normal for the heir to be a servant. However, God had blessed Abram and promised him that he would indeed have a son. So there are two things for us to take hold of in this passage: First, we need to take God at His Word. As with most things, this is much easier said than done. It’s easy to say we believe God is in control, but it is another thing entirely to trust Him when a loved one is on the hospital. The second thing we see is the importance of faith. It says, “And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” (15.6, ESV). Faith is the essential element to begin and keep a life with God. Books, commentaries, lectures and sermons have all been made or given on this topic. The thing for us to remember is that we must believe God, and for our benefit God counts that as righteousness.
15:7-21 is a lengthy account of sacrifices, prophecy, and blessing. It is important to remember that, as we move through passages like this, that as difficult as it may be there is always something for us to apply. One of the things about sacrifice is that it requires work. Abram had to find the animals listed by God (a heifer three years old, female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon). Not only did he have to find these specific animals but he also had to sacrifice them. In this case, Abram cut them in half. Thankfully we do not have to do things like this today! But our sacrifice is something that requires an equal amount of work, if not more. We are told to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice (see Romans 12:1-2). The second thing we can glean from this passage is comfort! Now, you may wonder how in the world we can glean comfort from a series of statements about Israel facing slavery in Egypt, but we can! Here’s why: God is in control! Nothing takes Him by surprise, and we can rest assured that He has a purpose for everything (see verse 16). The final thing we see is that God does indeed bless us. In our case we do nothing to deserve blessing. That is something that we must understand, for otherwise we develop a handout mentality. As we go through every day we must, like Abram, remember that God has blessed us and thank Him for it!