Abram was a very faithful guy. More faithful than I probably would be. God told him to get up, leave home, move somewhere he had never been, and that God would give him that land. In Genesis 15, we read about the covenant made between God and Abraham.
A description of a covenant ceremony is in order. Basically, this is what happens. The two covenant parties would cut several animals (in this case, a heifer, a goat, and a ram, each three years old, a dove and a pigeon) in half lengthwise, lay the two halves on a path, and walk between the two lines of animal halves. The two parties agree that what happened to the two animals would happen to them if they failed to fulfill the oath. Then, you’re done.
So, what happens with God and Abram? God causes Abram to fall asleep, where He reveals more to him about his destiny. But He also keeps Abram asleep until the right time. Then, just as Abram woke, He saw a firepot with a blazing torch passing between the animals.
What that means is this: God had created a unilateral covenant with Abraham. God was in effect saying, “The burden of keeping this covenant is upon Me.” God was giving His oath that He would be faithful to the terms of the covenant even despite the faithlessness of those whom He made a covenant with.
Let this be a reminder to us all that God’s promises are rock solid. They are there for us, and He will always prove faithful to us.