And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces (Genesis 15:17, NKJV).
God is known by a lot of names in the Scriptures, but as I read Genesis 15:17 this morning, I couldn’t help but think specifically of two of them: the All-Consuming Fire and the Light of the World. Doesn’t the reference to “a smoking oven” and “a burning torch” in this verse bring those titles to mind?
When I think of God as the All-Consuming Fire, I can’t help but think of judgment—and rightfully so. God is certainly the righteous Judge, and we would do well to keep that in mind. At the same time, Jesus called Himself the “Light of the world,” and aren’t we glad? He came to light the way that delivers us from God’s righteous judgment—the only way, according to Christ Himself.
As I pondered those names and their implications, I couldn’t help but picture the All-Consuming Fire (God the Father) and the Light of the World (God the Son) passing through the bloody pieces of the slain sacrifice, making covenant with one another. We often refer to Genesis 15 as the chapter where God made covenant with Abraham (at that time still called Abram), but Abraham didn’t actively participate in that covenant-making process, did he? He simply accepted the terms of the covenant and reaped the benefits.
Is it any different with us and the new covenant established by the bloody sacrifice of Christ, the Light of the world, the Lamb of God? God the Father and God the Son cut and sealed the covenant; like Abraham, we simply accept the finished work and reap the benefits. There’s nothing we can do to make the covenant greater or lesser, nothing we can do to change the terms or the outcome.
What we can do is cultivate a fresh appreciation for the All-Consuming Fire and the Light of the World who established this covenant for us, and then sent God the Holy Spirit to enable us to walk in it. What a mighty and merciful God we serve!