DayBreaks for 4/18/19: The Old Man, the Torch and the Hands of the King
From the DayBreaks archive, April 2009:
So He said to him, “Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds. The birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away. It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces. (Gen. 15:9-11, 17)
Nearly 2000 years passed from the time God met with Abram (as noted above) and made His covenant. Covenants were sealed in those days by this display of gore and blood. Covenants were serious business. Cutting a heifer, goat and ram into two pieces would not have been pretty, clean work. Effort was required, blood was spilled. The participants would be covered in blood. But that was only the beginning. As verse 17 shows, passing between the cut-up animals was part of the deal, too. It was what we would think of as the signature on a contract – it was what made it binding. It was a way of saying, “If I don’t keep my end of this bargain, you can cut me up and do to me the same thing we’ve done to these animals.”
But on the night God made this covenant with Abram, only the flaming torch passed between the pieces. Only God walked that pathway – not Abram. God knew full well that Abram could not keep a covenant any more than we’ve kept our covenant to obey God. So God took the full responsibility for the covenant upon Himself, freeing us.
Switch scenes to Good Friday: “And when human hands fastened the divine hands to a cross with spikes, it wasn’t the soldiers who held the hands of Jesus steady. It was God who held them steady. For those wounded hands were the same invisible hands that had carried the firepot and the torch two thousand years earlier. They were the same hands that had brought light into Abraham’s thick and dreadful darkness. They had come to do it again.” – Max Lucado, Six Hours One Friday
God kept His word. Except this time, the bloody carcass wasn’t a heifer, goat or ram. It was His own.
Prayer: Great covenant-keeping God, we prostrate ourselves before your greatness and glory, in awe of your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>