'So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.’ Galatians 3:9
Abraham was probably already an aging man when he received this wondrous blessing and promise of God, too wondrous to be true! But Abraham did not dare to doubt this promise of God, and therefore he asked for a sign. Now it happens several times in the Bible that the receiving of a sign is accompanied by the bringing of an offering. When we offer sacrifices, we become pleasing before God. A sacrifice always means reconciliation. It is strange that we often want to receive a sign from heaven out of unbelief and unruliness, rather than out of the desire to be wholly reconciled and united with God.
Abraham, the friend of God, was not like this. He brought the required animals, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other. This shows that Abraham prepared to make a covenant with God, like the Jews did later in Jerusalem (Jeremiah 34:18). Would God bow down this low, to make a covenant with His creature? The unimaginable happened! God descended, but man was no match for God in this covenant. While man slept, God passed between the pieces alone instead of together with Abraham. Only God made promises to Abraham, Abraham did not promise anything.
How different from the covenant on Mount Sinai where God set conditions. But the covenant of Mount Sinai was only added until Jesus would come (Galatians 3:19). And through Jesus we participate in the covenant God made with Abraham, if we ‘follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had’ (Romans 4:12).