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AN UNBREAKABLE PROMISE

Daily Devotional Genesis 15:7–21


How do we know someone will keep a promise? Many rituals have been developed to ensure that people will be faithful to their word. Little children use “pinky swear.” Couples recite marriage vows in a formal ceremony. Banks have borrowers sign legal documents. Even so, many of those promises are eventually broken.


When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself.

HEBREWS 6:13


In Genesis 15, God reaffirmed another significant promise to Abram. God declared He would give Abram the land of Canaan (v. 7). Instead of thanking God, Abram asked, “How can I know that I will gain possession of it?” (v. 8). God instructed Abram to get a collection of animals (v. 9). While this may not make sense to us, it did to Abram.


In the ancient world one of the ceremonies developed to confirm a promise involved cutting animals in half, then arranging each half opposite the other, creating an aisle between the pieces of the animals. Each person making a promise would walk through the aisle reciting an oath. The oath would be something like this: “If I break my promise may my shoulder become like the shoulder of this cow” (compare with Jer. 34:18). It was a way of showing that you would rather die than break your word.


In this scene, God had Abram arrange the animals. Then, God put Abram into a deep, divinely induced sleep (v. 12). In the form of a “smoking firepot,” God Himself walked between the pieces of the animals. Through this action, God communicated to Abram that He would keep His promise no matter what.


As believers, our hope is anchored in God’s commitment to keep His promises (Heb. 6:13–20). Every time we take communion, we remember God’s faithfulness in the death and resurrection of Jesus. We also look forward to the promise of His return (1 Cor. 11:26).


Go Deeper


How does Abram typically respond to God’s promises? Are we anything like Abram? What gets in the way of trusting God’s Word?


Pray with Us


“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lam. 3:22–23).

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