As mentioned in one of the previous devotions, I feel that there are more lessons we can learn from Genesis 15, where God made a covenant with Abram. I would like to focus on verses 10-18.

Apparantly God didn't make the covenant with Abram right after the latter brought and prepared the sacrificial animals. Abram had to wait for a long time. While he was waiting, he had to protect the sacrifices that were going to be used for their covenantal ceremony. (v.11) He fell asleep after waiting for such a long time, then "a terrifying darkness descended upon him" (v.12, NRSV) before God spoke to him.

Why does it have to be so troublesome? We don't know the exact answer, but it is quite possible that Abram's experience at the time symbolizes what the Israelites will go through in Egypt. That Moses—the covenantal sacrifice that God is going to use to make a covenant with Israelites—Abram's descendants, will be guarded and protected. In the darkest period of their time in Egypt, when they were deeply terrified, God will deliver them and make a covenant with them. (Deuteronomy 29:11-15)

So how is this relevant to us? There are at least two things we learn about God. First, sometimes God allows us to go through trials to make us stronger and more capable. Israel was not a nation yet but only a large family when they migrate to Egypt. (Genesis 46:7) When they left, the Bible says "all the armies of the Lord left the land of Egypt." (Exodus 12:41, NABre. NIV rendered as "all the Lord's divisions" which should really mean armies) God allowed Israelites first to be cultivated, then oppressed in Egypt to build them up from a family to a nation. God also build us up the similar way. His goal is to make us into His armies, capable of fighting with Him.

The other thing we learn is that God is faithful. His promises will never fail. It took 25 years for God to fulfill a small part of the covenant He made with Abram when Isaac was born. It took another 760 years for Israelites to return to the promise land to fulfill another part of the Abrahamic covenant. But the covenant will not be fully fulfilled until the return of Jesus Christ! The covenant spells out God's plan for human history.

Do you have the experience of being build up by God through trials or difficulties? Or have you experienced God's faithfulness in His promise to you? Share one experience with your devotional partner. Pray for each other that you will have the faith to trust in God's unfailing faithfulness and love.