GOD’S WAY: ASLEEP BETWEEN THE PIECES OF YOUR LIFE
A Vision of Genesis 15:7-17
You, Lord, have made the life of Abraham our role model.
How You worked in his life is how you work in our lives.
You are the Promise Giver and You are the Promise Keeper.
You made it clear, through the 25 years between the promise You made
to Abraham of a son and the miraculous birth of Isaac, that You wanted
Abraham to stop trying to help You bring about the fulfillment of the
promise before You would bring it about by Grace through faith.
You waited through Operation Hagar, and in fact, waited until Abraham was sexually impotent, at 99, before You alone did the miraculous, with Abraham standing by, saying, “It’s over, I can’t do it anymore”. He had finally given up, now surrendered and simply available. Until then, he harbored the idea he had a contribution to make, that it was up to him, with Your help of course, to make it happen, consistent with the modern mantra of the self-made man, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me!” with the modern Christian adding, of course, “with God’s help”.
We need to see this attitude as nothing more than “sanctified” humanism! Humanism being an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters, defined also as a progressive “lifestance” that, without supernaturalism, affirms man’s ability and responsibility to lead meaningful, successful lives by his or her own efforts.
So, in order to make it clear to Abraham, and hopefully to us, that we, as Christians are not to live by “sanctified” humanism, but by faith in all You are and all You do, You recorded for our edification another amazing event in Abraham’s life that actually preceded the 25 year long event of Isaac. Might make you think we all need more than one reminder of how You designed life to be lived.
Prior to Your Promise of a son to Abraham, You promised him land, specific land laid out in Genesis 15:7, 18.
Abraham said, “How may I know that I shall possess it?”
So, You Lord, in what You said and did next made it clear to all of us for all time that You fulfill Your promises to us and would only give Abraham the land “by grace through faith”, without him, or us, lending a helping hand. Let us lean in and learn this valuable lesson for it has much to do with how You, Lord, want us to live our lives.
Abraham took three big animals, a cow, a goat and a ram and cut them into pieces, went out to a remote area in the wilderness and set them up, along with a turtledove and a pigeon, so that he was in the middle of the pieces; all done exactly as You had instructed him. You told him these animals were a sacrifice that You would burn up by sending fire from heaven. He set it all up early in the morning and expected the fire to fall from heaven right away, as all of us would have expected. But You waited! For what? Until something happened in the mind and heart of Abraham; the same thing that needs to happen in us!
The entire day passes, 10-12 hours, as the sun beats down on the carcasses and they began to stink. Vultures, by the hundreds, began to gather and hop closer and closer to the bloody animals. Abraham feels it’s his responsibility to shoo them away, moving from side to side and doing his best to keep them from eating the animals. He starts getting tired, night begins to fall and still no fire. Then, he finds himself in pitch, black night in the middle of stinky carcasses that have, no doubt, attracted hyenas, lions and who knows what other wild beasts. Imagine the fiery eyes you would see in the dark staring at you, waiting to pounce on you. No way they would spare Abraham once they started feasting on the animals, for he was in the middle. No wonder the Scripture says, “a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him.”(Gen15:12). Abram was exhausted from all his effort and tried his best not to fall asleep for he felt sure, if he did, he would die.
The darkness was not only around him, but in him! He began to have nightmares! You would too, probably about being eaten alive. Now, with Abram asleep between the pieces, “there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between the pieces”, lapping up the animals but did not singe one hair of Abram.
Wow, only after Abram gave up and gave in did You. Lord, go into action! You made it clear to Abraham, and to us, that You alone are the One who will DO what needs doing. You are the DO’er, we are the receivers of what You do in us, through us and around us, in order that life is lived the way You designed it, “by grace through faith”, not “by works through human effort”, even if we include You to some degree as our “helper”.
Sometimes, when life gets tough and circumstances have mounted up against us and we feel our life is falling apart, You wants us to stop trying to hold it all together and go to sleep between the pieces of our lives. You want us to trust and completely rely on You, not 50/50, or even 90/10, to perform Your promises, to deliver us, to come through miraculously and “hold all things together”, cleaning up the “bloody” mess we’ve made of things by trying to help you bring about the “abundant life” by our best efforts with Your help.
Thank you for making it clear through the life of our forefather in the Faith, Abraham, that You want complete control and the freedom to accomplish all that concerns us Yourself, apart from our help.