God’s Covenant with Abraham

Lesson 46

God’s Covenant with Abraham

In the Ancient Near East, it was common for two people to make a covenant by cutting animals in half, splitting the halves, and then walking in between the pieces to make an oath. By walking between the split animals, each person was swearing that if they broke their part of the agreement, they would meet the same end as the sacrificed animal.

In Genesis 15, God enacts such a blood covenant with Abram—with one key difference. In this covenant, only One party walks through the pieces: God Himself, in the form of a “smoking oven and a flaming torch” (Genesis 15:17).

What does this mean? It signifies that God alone took responsibility for fulfilling the terms of the covenant. It was as if God made a contract in which He promised certain benefits to Abram – namely, a land, blessing, and descendants – without any stipulations to be upheld by Abram. In other words, God made an unconditional and irrevocable covenant with Himself concerning the Jewish people (c.f. Hebrews 6:13-18).

Our commitment to stand with Israel and the Jewish people is not based on whim or fancy but on the utterly unshakeable faithfulness of God. We stand with Israel because God does.


Forward this email to a friend who may need to be reminded of God’s faithfulness today.

Study Lesson 1 of The Israel Course to learn more about God’s covenant with the Jewish people.