Genesis 15: 10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. 11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away. 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram….
God gave Abraham a promise and reiterated it here. He’d had problems in Egypt and with Lot. Now he was coming back into the land Israel would inherit. Verse 6 tells us Abraham believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. If we’ll believe God’s promises and trust his Word, God will bring reality into perspective. Abraham asked how he could know. Promises in the Word are good, but it’s nice that God gives us assurance in our heart. We can know we’re saved. I’ve been challenged by this. When I tell people I believe and know it my heart, they can’t argue too much with that. I know it’s true because it works. I tried other things. I joined a little Methodist Church and that membership left me still lost and on my way to hell. When I trusted Jesus, he changed my heart and set me free. It worked! Abraham knew the God that spoke to him was the true God. Every time he talked to him it worked!
God told Abraham to take the animals. Verses 9-10 tell us that God said take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. He made an altar. It was through sacrifice that Abraham had assurance. It’s through the altar God has provided and our putting on it what God wants. We meet God at our personal altar.
Soon the fowls came. Verse 11 says when the fowls came down upon the carcasses. When they came, not if. It’s not a question of if our relationship with God will be tested but when. When we yield our bodies as that living sacrifice God wants, the devil takes notice. When we get closer to the Lord, the devil tries to move in closer. The vultures were hidden, watching. Birds are in the trees even if you don’t see them. Throw out some food and you’ll find out. When you dedicate and commit to the Lord, mark it down, the devil is watching.
The vultures came to the sacrifice. What was a holy sacrifice to the Lord was meat for fowls. The devil is not after our weakness or our imperfection. He wants to devour everything God has put into our heart—faith and love. He’ll try to whittle it away. He’ll pick the scripture from our minds to devour and carry it off. On our country roads we see buzzards after road kill all the time. They have an appetite for that. God made them that way to keep nature cleaned up. The old devil will send whatever he can to take away what connects us with God.
Abraham wasn’t caught by surprise. He didn’t give up and walk away when the vultures came. He knew it would happen. The devil should not catch us by surprise. He’ll try his best to get between us and the Lord. Don’t let him. Paul said to put off the old man and put on the new. Abraham didn’t have a bow or a spear, but he did have a staff. He used it a lot on the animals to guide them and pull them in line. He took that staff and drove the vultures away. That’s encouraging. He could have panicked and waited for the Lord to do it. Some vultures God will drive away for us, but he won’t drive away what we can do ourselves. Take what guides our life—knowledge of the Word of God. What gets us through each day? The Word of God. It is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Abraham ran all the vultures away. The word of God is quick, and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, all he did was quote the Word of his Father. When he used the Word on the devil he didn’t have to use any divine power of his own. We have the Word of God. If Jesus used it, how much more do we need it?
Peter said be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you. The only way to do that is to hide it in our heart. Paul said study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Get the Word in your mind and heart. The devil can’t use the Word on us if we first use it on him. When the buzzards come around, use the Word. Study it every day. The vultures may not be here today, but they will come. Protect your altar and your commitment to God.