Read Genesis 15:9-21
This passage appears to describe an Old Testament ritual of sacrifice. In the ancient Near East, when two parties entered into a covenant, they would seal their commitment similarly. They would cut animals in two parts and place them on the ground with a path down the middle of the two halves. Then the lower and lesser party of the agreement would pass between the halves, reciting the terms of the covenant. The ritual served as a visual reminder of the severe nature of the commitment. The lesser party essentially said they would end up like those unfortunate animals if they broke the covenant terms.
In this covenant account, it is not Abraham who passes between the animals, but God’s presence symbolized as the blazing torch and fire pot. It should have been the lesser party, Abraham, putting his life on the line if he ever broke the covenant. But it is not. It is God who takes that upon Himself.
In choosing Abraham as His representative, God entered into a covenant for the sake of all of humanity. In promising to bring Peace through Abraham’s offspring, God puts His own life on the line. Knowing that Abraham would fail like all the others and that
God would be faithful like He always is, God gives us an image of the future. The promise of Peace. Jesus will lay down His life as a sacrifice for our sins, taking on the judgment that should be ours and shedding His blood on the cross for our salvation.
According to the scripture, the Peace of God, “which transcends all understanding,” is the harmony and calmness of body, mind, and spirit trusting in the power and grace of God. As we draw close to Christmas, it’s comforting to know that the promise of Hope and Peace was fulfilled in the birth of Christ.