A Proper Response: How to Acknowledge Yahweh's Faithfulness
I. If you are a worshiper of Yahweh, you must show Him your thankfulness with prayer (1a)
A covenant is a promise, in this case a promise made by God to Abraham and his descendants. For most of us promise is a better word than covenant, for covenant suggests a bargain, and God’s covenants are established apart from any assets we might have to bargain with. On the other hand, we treat promises lightly, and God does not treat his promises lightly. So maybe we should use the word oath or talk about a solemn commitment. In any case, the commitment in view here is God’s promise to give Abraham’s descendants a land of their own.
The details are in Genesis 15. God caused Abraham to fall into a deep sleep and then appeared to him as a smoking fire pot and a blazing torch that passed between the divided carcasses of animals Abraham had previously slaughtered and laid out in the traditional manner for a covenant ceremony. God told him, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.… In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure” (vv. 13–14, 16). This promise was repeated to Isaac a generation later (Gen. 26:24) and after that to Jacob (Gen. 28:10–15; 35:9–12; 46:1–4).