And he said to him, I am the LORD that brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give you this land to inherit it.…
Here we notice —
1. The reason of the covenant (ver. 8). It was made in response to a request on Abram's part for some visible sign or token which might prove helpful to his faith.
2. The signs of the covenant. These were such as to appeal to Abram's outward vision.
(1) The laid-out sacrifice (vers. 9-11). Human covenants were wont to be ratified by sacrifice. In these victims we discern a type of Christ crucified — the sacrifice which forms the basis of the covenant of grace.
(2) The moving Shechinah (ver. 17). Abram had prepared the sacrifice in the morning" on God's behalf" (ver. 9); and all that he had to do now was to wait for the completion of the ceremonial. At last, however, came the mystic and awe-striking confirmation. "The glory of the Lord" appeared in the form of a smoking furnace and a fiery torch, and glided slowly down the narrow passage between the divided carcases. It was the same "glory" which Adam had seen at the gate of Paradise, Moses was to behold in the bush, and Israel upon the summit of Sinai, and which was to lead the march from Egypt to the promised land.
3. The blessings of the covenant. These were(1) The friend. ship of God. Jehovah pledged Himself to be the God of Abraham — his shield, his reward, the almighty ally, And He became such not by reason of any personal merit on the part of the patriarch, but on the ground of the great sacrifice which He was pleased to appoint and accept as a propitiation for sin (Romans 4; Galatians 3:1; James 2:23).
(2) The seed. Abram's posterity is to be multitudinous as the dust of the earth and countless as the stars of the sky; the reference here being not to his bodily posterity alone, but chiefly to his spiritual children; that is, to all who shall share his faith in God.
(3) The land. The ideal and ample boundaries of the land of promise are now, for the first time, defined in the hearing of Abram (vers. 18-21), and all is typical of "a better country, that is, an heavenly," which is the destined inheritance of the patriarch's spiritual "seed."
III. A REVELATION REGARDING ABRAM'S POSTERITY (vers. 12-16).
1. It is the Lord's special delight to comfort and cheer the hearts of His people when they are cast down (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4; 2 Corinthians 7:6).
2. God is better than His gifts. The best portion any soul can win is to know and love and possess in the indestructible communion of love, Him who is the possessor of earth and heaven.
3. Verse 6 is one of the most important texts of the Old Testament Scriptures, inasmuch as it is a clear testimony to the exclusive efficacy of faith without works as the instrument of the sinner's justification.
4. Although the privileges and blessings of the gospel covenant all come from God, and are to be traced to His good pleasure alone, it belongs to man to fulfil the conditions and perform the obligations which the reception of covenant benefits involves.
5. The faith which was imputed to Abram for righteousness formed that impressive personal character which made him "the friend of God," and which at length enabled him even to offer up his only son Isaac in obedience to the Divine command (James 2:21-23).
(C. Jordan, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.