When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. Genesis 15:17

All of us, at one time or another have suffered from broken promises. It started when we were young with the promises of parents and other ‘trusted adults’ who promised to play with us, take us to the zoo, or go on that fishing trip.

As we grew older the promises became more complex, but no more secure.

“I’ll be your best friend forever.”

“I promise I won’t tell anyone your secret. You can trust me.”

“I promise I will never leave you. I will always be here for you.”

Broken promises break our hearts, wound our souls and cause us to doubt others as well as ourselves.

The problem with promises is that they are only as strong as the person making them. A common misconception we have is that some promises are conditional.

“I promise I’ll go to the dance with you if…”

“We’ll watch the ball game together if you promise you’ll clean your room.”

But promises are unconditional. Once you add a condition to a promise the promise and it’s accompanying obedience becomes a rule/wage situation. None of this is more true than with the story of Abram and Jehovah God.

Abram bursts onto the Old Testament scene rather abruptly and from out of nowhere. For no apparent reason, God promises him tremendous blessing both in wealth in this life and in a legacy that will last throughout history.

In Abram’s day, promises were covenants that were sealed with sacrifice. The ceremony involved cutting animals in half and laying them end to end. The participants in the sacrifice would walk together through the carcasses as a sign of their allegiance to the sacrifice. In a sense it would be like saying, ‘may I be like one of these animals if I break this promise.’

The interesting thing is, Abram didn’t walk down the path, only God did. The meaning is amazing. The promise of God’s love and blessing is entirely dependent on him alone, not Abram. The blazing torch symbolizes the Shekinah Glory, God himself in all his power and majesty. The smoking fire pot may symbolize despair and pain. To me, it symbolizes the pain Jesus bore on the cross for me.

God’s promise is not dependent on us in the least. There is nothing we can do to tear us away from his love and power and forgiveness. Without God’s love, our lives are full of pain and broken promises. With him we shine as lights in the darkness.

PRAYER: Father God, thank you for your promise of salvation. Thank you that there is nothing I can do to invalidate the covenant because it all rides on you. And thank you for the forgiveness that only comes through Jesus. Amen.