Original Posting At http://sandpipersthoughts.blogspot.com/2017/11/genesis-15-part-3.html
Thinking about Genesis 15 (see Monday’s post)
Role of ritual in the story
And then there is that really nasty passage about splitting animals in half and walking between them. It’s important to set this passage in its place in history – know the context. (another great hint for understanding God’s message through the word we read). The slaughter and splitting of animals was a Near Eastern covenant ritual in which the covenanting parties walk between the pieces of animals, thus taking upon themselves the fate of those animals should they violate the covenant. They signed contracts differently then than we do now.
If you read it carefully, you’ll see that a fire pot and buring torch pass between the animals – symbols of God, but that Abram does not. God is taking on the responsibility for fulfilling the covenant alone.
Seeing it, Abram would have known what was happening, and would have understood, through this ritual.
Are there rituals or ordinary experiences that God uses to reveal himself to us?
The stated purpose of the lesson is “to have the courage to question and to trust in the Word of God.” In this passage, Abram moves from doubt to faith: Verse 6 says, “Abram trusted the Lord, and the Lord recognized Aram’s high moral character.”
Psalm 8 has been called the first Psalm of praise in the Psalter. Read Psalm 8 and consider the idea of Trust.
Prayer: Awaken in us, God, the possibility of dreams. Teach us to see in the images common to our lives your very presence. Calm our fears as we walk deeper and deeper into the darkness as we encounter the fame of your spirit; it Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.