Abrahamic Covenant: Abraham in Canaan (Gen 15:5-11, 17-21)

A covenant is an agreement, pact, or treaty between two parties. During Abraham's time, a covenant was ratified by cutting animals in half and each covenant participant passes through between them as a sign of their covenant commitment or face the fate of the animals.

1. After Abram arrives in Canaan, God indicates the land He will give to Abram and his descendants (Gen 12:7; 13:14-17); but, Abram has two concerns: he has no children and he does not know how he could possess the Promised Land (Gen 15:2-7). What do you observe about Abram's covenant ratification ceremony with God?

geography of Abram's travel

And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

And he said to him, "I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess." But he said, "O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?" He said to him, "Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon." And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. (Gen 15:5-11, ESV)

When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites." (Gen 15:17-21, ESV)

2. One year before Isaac is born, God repeats His covenant promises to Abram. List those promises and discuss what does God mean, "I will establish my covenant to be God to you"?

When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly." Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, "Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God." (Gen 17:1-8, ESV)

3. As you learn more about Abraham, you may encounter other references of his family (Gen 16:4-15, 18:11-15; 25:1-2, 9-10). How many wives and sons did Abraham have? With whom among Abraham's descendants was the Abrahamic Covenant confirmed? Who came to bury Abraham when he died?

4. Aside from Abraham's great faith in God, what was another reason for God choice of Abraham to make His covenant with? Observe carefully Genesis 18:17-19.

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