7 ¶ And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9 And he said unto him, 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. 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 carcases, Abram drove them away.
God brings up another promise that He made to Abram, the inheritance of the land of Canaan. God took Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees. Remember, most of the time the ch sound is like a k. The Chaldeans or Chaldees were a root ethnic tribe of Babylonia and were dominant for a period of time. Some priests of Babylon were identified as being Chaldean. (see Ezra 5:12; Daniel 2:10) But, again Abram is challenging God and demands to know what assurance he can be given that will guarantee this promised inheritance.
God promised to save the Christian from an eternity of agony and suffering, God’s response to, His judgment on, a rebellious humanity.
Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 ¶ For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
God coming to indwell a person by the vehicle of the Holy Spirit is the deposit, the earnest money, the guarantee of that promise of salvation.
Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Any Christianity or Christian philosophy without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a pathetic joke, a dangerous delusion, and stumbling block to sanity. Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit the Christian faith is reduced to humanistic drivel, man aspiring to please a God he does not or cannot know personally. It then becomes a political slogan, a cultural expression, a way to keep the masses down, or a justification to dominate others.
The Holy Spirit’s indwelling, the fruit it produces in the Christian as listed in Galatians 5:22-24, and the religion it demands as an expression of your faith as explained in James 1:27 and 1John 2:15-17, are part of the foundations of proof that this indwelling is real. Being born again of the Spirit is the proof we have that God’s promises in Christ are real to us as this upcoming ritual is the deposit, the earnest, so to speak, of God’s promise to Abram.
Abram obeys God and performs the first part of the ceremony around making a covenant.
Jeremiah 34:18 And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof, 19 The princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, which passed between the parts of the calf;
Writers, both Jewish and Christian, have different opinions about the significance of the particular animals used. The she goat might represent the Law given to Moses later.
Numbers 15:27 And if any soul sin through ignorance, then he shall bring a she goat of the first year for a sin offering.
The ram might represent salvation through faith in Christ as Abram, then named Abraham, tells his son, Issac, in a prophecy that points forward to Christ;
Genesis 22:8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
And a ram was made available in place of Issac;
Genesis 22:13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
The turtledove and the pigeon, used for purification, are also part of this blood covenant.
Leviticus 12:6 And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest:
Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
But, regardless of the purpose of those creatures other than the heifer, which purpose scholars are not sure of, this covenant was understood by the people of the ancient world as the passage in Jeremiah indicates.
Fowls of the air are symbols also of the Devil (see the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4 as just one example) so there is significance in Abram’s part of this covenant, in his obedience first, and also in his keeping corruption from his part. We could make sermons about this and many have been made about keeping things of evil from your worship of God; influences, worldly values, and carnality fluttering around your solemn willingness to wait on, obey, and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.