Summary: God’s covenant through Abram was about the Hebrews getting to the Promised Land of Canaan and it was a precursor to the final covenant through Jesus Christ!
God tells Christians in 1 Peter 1:18-19, For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. A great hymn proclaims, There is power, power, wonder working power; In the blood of the Lamb; There is power, power, wonder working power In the precious blood of the Lamb.
Christians are redeemed, brought back to God, for eternity by the blood of Jesus Christ.
How did this idea of a blood sacrifice started?
Do you remember the first public worshipers of God?
Cain and Abel were the first noted worshipers of God.
Genesis 4:4 tells us, Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering. Abel had to sacrifice an animal to worship God.
In Genesis 8:20-21 we read, Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma.
In Genesis 15, Abram took some animals and cut them in halves. Abram did this for God.
Please open your Bibles there to Genesis 15.
Let us learn from the Word of God.
Read along with me Genesis 15:7-20………………..
Abram asked God for assurance in getting the Promised Land (v8).
God answered Abram with a covenant (v9-18). A covenant is an agreement and a promise. It was common during Abram’s time to do a “blood cutting” ritual to affirm the covenant.
We can note that God Himself initiated the covenant (v9). God told Abram to bring animals for sacrifice. We can note that Abram knew exactly what to do with those animals. The affirmation of the covenant happens when the two agreeing parties walk between the cut animals (Jeremiah 34:18 talks about this). Abram prepared the blood cutting ceremony, and as he was waiting for God, birds of prey showed up and Abram had to drive them away. Abram got tired of waiting and he fell asleep.
God then told Abram about the future. God gave details of the covenant to Abram. We read in v13-16: Abram’s descendants will be strangers in a foreign country. They will be enslaved and mistreated for 400 hundred years. God will punish the nation they served as slaves. Abram’s descendants will come out of slavery with great possessions. Abram will go to his fathers in peace and die at a good old age. In the fourth generation, Abram’s descendants will come back to the Promised Land.
Then in verse 17, God affirmed the covenant by showing up with fire but interestingly, God did not require Abram to walk with Him.
Obviously, this covenant in Genesis 15 was with Abram and it involved Abram’s descendants. What does it have to do with us?
Well, remember how we started this message with 1 Peter 1:18-19, For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. You see, God is a God of covenants and God still desires to have a covenant with people today, but there is no longer a need to sacrifice animals!