Genesis 15:18
On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I have given this land--from the river of Egypt to the great River Euphrates--
Jehovah's Covenant with AbramC. Jordan, M. A.Genesis 15:7-21
The Confirmation of FaithT. H. Leale.Genesis 15:7-21
The Cross of Christ: its Blessings and its TrialsF. Whitefield, M. A.Genesis 15:7-21
The First Stage of the CovenantThe Congregational PulpitGenesis 15:7-21
Watching with GodT. H. Leale.Genesis 15:7-21
God's CovenantG. Hughes, B. D.Genesis 15:18-21
The River of EgyptP. H. Gosse.Genesis 15:18-21
FaithR.A. Redford Genesis 15
And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep, &c. The great blessings promised are still afar off. As yet Abraham has no son to hand down his name to posterity. By means of a vision God strengthened his faith. Weird is the picture in this fifteenth chapter. See the solitary sheik in the desert offering his varied sacrifice, then watching until the sun goes down to drive off the vultures from the slain offerings. His arms become weary with waving and his eyes with their vigils. As the sun sinks below the widespread horizon, and night quickly steals over the desert, a horror of great darkness creeps over his spirit. Then a deep sleep falls upon him, and in that sleep come visions and a voice. The vision was of a furnace and a shining lamp moving steadily between the divided emblems. Look at the meaning of that vision.

I. It indicated the ACCEPTANCE OF THE OFFERINGS. Fire in the East is generally understood to be a solemn witness to any engagement. To confirm an oath some Orientals will point to the lamp and say, "It is witness." Nuptial ceremonies are sometimes solemnized by walking round a fire three times, and the parties uttering certain words meanwhile.


1. Both the Israel after the flesh and that after the spirit had to pass through the fire of persecution; but the lamp of truth had always been kept alight by the prophets, apostles, martyrs, and confessors of the Church.

2. The life and work of Christ may also have been shadowed forth in that furnace and lamp. Christ knew the bitterness of betrayal, denial, and death; but he knew also the joy of conscious sinlessness, complete self-sacrifice, and unending power of salvation.

3. They illustrated the character of the life of many believers. Trial and joy must be intermingled. As Abraham saw the vision in connection with sacrifice, so on Calvary shall we best learn the meaning of the smoking furnace and burning lamp. - H.

The Lord made a covenant with Abram.
1. The time of saints' sacrifice amidst their troubles may be the season of God's making covenant with them.

2. Not only promise but covenant hath God made to His Church for their consolation.

3. Word and sign, promise and pledge, make up God's covenant.

4. God's promise of good to come is as sure as if done already.

5. Lower mercies God may give as tokens of greater blessings — this land.

6. The Church hath had its place and portion designed in this world, for being here (ver. 18).

7. God's bounds to His Church were large under the law, much more under the gospel. The ends of the earth now (ver. 19).

8. All peoples shall be driven out to make room for the Church of God. Multitudes can be no hindrance of making good God's covenant to them (vers. 20, 21).

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

As the traveller pursues his weary way from Egypt to Palestine, he crosses the broad channel of a river, bounded still by its well-marked banks, but destitute of water. When the rivers of Judah flowed with water, this was the southern boundary of the country, dividing it from the land of Ham, and hence it is often alluded to as the "River of Egypt." On one side is a parched desert of sand, spotted here and there with little verdant patches, where a few bushes of palm trees grow, and flowers show their smiling faces to the scorching rays of the sun that pour down as if from a glowing furnace; but, in general, dreary, waste, and bare, with nothing to relieve the eye, almost blinded by the glare of the white sand, but occasional heaps of stones, that tell of ruin and desolation. Here and there the flat sands are covered with an incrustation of fine salt, the very symbol of barrenness. The wild ass, whose "house" God has "made the wilderness, and the barren land (Hebrews, the salt places) his dwellings," here ranges, far from the haunts of men, "searching after every green thing." On the eastern side of this ancient channel the country changes. Low sand hills running in ranges parallel to the shore of the Mediterranean for a while struggle for supremacy with the verdure of grassy slopes.

(P. H. Gosse.).

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