God talked to Abram about how He was going to bless him. Abram basically didn’t see that it mattered much since he would be dying and not have anyone to receive his things. It would go to his servant Eliezer and be out of the family forever. God promised Abram that he would have a son, even though he was old and hadn’t had one yet. Abram believed this promise and God accepted Abram’s faith as perfection.
Once Abram believed the promise of the son, he wanted to know about the rest of the blessing God was going to give him. God told him about the land that he would give him. And when Abram asked how he could know for sure it would be his and his family’s, God told Abram to bring some animals. Abram sacrificed them to God and shewed away some vultures that tried to eat them. He then fell asleep and God revealed a smoky fire pot and a torch that went in between the two halves of the sacrificed animals. In the dream, God told Abram that his family would possess the land but only after they were enslaved for 400 years. The dead animals were symbols of the persecuted people, the vultures were like those who wanted to rid the earth of God’s people, and the smoky pot and torch were God who was with his people.
Nothing has really changed all that much. As believers in Christ, we are living sacrifices to God. We are still being attacked by those who desire to rid the world of us. But most importantly: God is with us. In fact, Jesus has the title “Immanuel” which means “God is with us.” Like the Israelites, we are wandering in an unfriendly world until God gives us the promised land of a new heaven and new earth. It will come with Jesus returns. The interesting thing is that when Jesus comes back, John tells us that there will be judgment upon this unfriendly world. And that the vultures will be called to eat up the bodies of God’s enemies.
The gospel brings us all the way home, all the way to heaven.