Episode 002 – God Walks Between the Pieces

Key Passage(s): Genesis 15:1-21

This is a week people celebrate and think about love (Valentine’s Day). It’s also the week that begins the season of Lent that culminates with the death and resurrection of Jesus, whereby God’s immense love for humanity is on display. But God’s extravagant love for humanity is vividly seen much earlier in the Bible. This teaching tackles a monumental moment from Genesis 15, where God does the unthinkable, and demonstrates just how far His love is willing to go.

Discussion Questions

  • What’s your biggest takeaway from the teaching?
  • Are there other stories in the Bible that make more sense now based on what you learned?
  • How does this story confirm or change your perspective of God – both in general and in reference to “God of the Old Testament” vs. “God of the New Testament?”
  • Do you struggle with the idea that God is fundamentally a God of extravagant love? Why or why not?
  • Where is God seeking to expand your understanding of Him?
  • What’s one step you can take in walking out the truths of this story in your life?

For Further Study

  • The Restoration of All Things – this is a 73-minute teaching I did on the entire Bible from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, providing the over arching narrative and for understanding what the Bible is all about. The timeline graphic that accompanies the teaching can be download at the teaching link.
  • The Epic of Eden by Sandra L. Richter – Chapter 3 addresses Genesis 15 and the idea of “covenant.”

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  1. Marcus Blass February 13, 2018 at 5:45 am - Reply

    So, what’s with the birds not being cut in half?

    • Yves3963 February 13, 2018 at 11:31 am - Reply

      The birds were in pair. So having them face each ones was like cutting them in two.

    • Debbi Chesney February 13, 2018 at 12:32 pm - Reply

      Too small to cut in half.

  2. Sandy McClellan February 13, 2018 at 6:56 am - Reply

    Brad, thank you for your teaching today. This is a beautiful and new thought to me.

  3. Andrew Cass February 13, 2018 at 7:26 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing and making this investment into the kingdom! Question: What Mesopotamian deities are represented in the smoking pot and the flaming torch?

    • Brad Gray February 16, 2018 at 12:20 pm - Reply

      Gibil and Kusu

      • Andrew Cass February 20, 2018 at 2:17 pm - Reply

        Thx Brad.

      • David Doerner March 20, 2018 at 10:10 pm - Reply

        Hey Brad, I’m just wrestling a little bit with the Mesopotamian deities. I know you said these are from Abram’s culture and God uses them to speak to Abram, but in doing so, is God giving these deities credibility? Is there a reason he chose these two?

        • Brad Gray March 21, 2018 at 4:04 pm - Reply

          Hey David, great question. Think about the 1st Commandment in Exodus 20:3, “you shall have no other gods before me.” Or from Exodus 12:12, “and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt.” The Bible gives credibility to these deities – to at least to the fact that people will struggle follow more than just God. As Paul states in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” So there are obviously real powers in opposition to God in the world and in the Bible. But more specific to your question/concern is that God is using things that connect for people. This would have immediately connected for Abraham. And whether he believed these deities to be real or not isn’t the reason God is using them. He’s using them precisely because they represented deities, and God is now using this imagery to represent His presence and allow Abraham to make a connection that God is there.

          • David Doerner March 22, 2018 at 9:20 am

            That makes a lot of sense. Thanks so much for responding, Brad. I’m actually using some of this content in my message on Sunday and am so grateful for your work on this in providing the context. Such a powerful story, but this website and the tools you have put together are an invaluable resource, so thank you very much! I’ll be a regular!

          • Brad Gray March 23, 2018 at 10:01 am

            Great to hear, David!

          • Anne September 27, 2019 at 9:12 pm

            Great teachings. Thank you Brad

          • Brad Gray October 11, 2019 at 6:29 am

            You are welcome, Anne.

        • Scott Poole February 21, 2019 at 7:42 pm - Reply

          I know this is late to the game, but when you look closer at the gods and what they represent it makes the message even more interesting/powerful. Gibil is the God of fire, but at the time while fire represented destruction, it also represented building (fire being used for making bricks). Kusu was Gibils wife and represented purification (of oil). So this idea of dying to self to be rebuilt purified would be something Abram would understand. God could have chosen any number of Mesopotamian deities that Abram would recognize, but he chose those two.

          • Brad Gray February 25, 2019 at 12:12 pm

            So fascinating indeed, Scott. Thank you for your comments.

  4. Judy Tuinenga February 13, 2018 at 8:28 am - Reply

    So grateful for this resource. Praising God for leading you to this point and thanking you, Brad, for being boldly obedient.

  5. Susan Lutz February 13, 2018 at 8:30 am - Reply

    Great teaching on an amazing moment for Abram and all of us. I think showing the Restoration of All Things timeline is so helpful in orienting where the passage is in the big picture. Thanks, Brad.

  6. Shallon Gray February 13, 2018 at 8:41 am - Reply

    Love this teaching and it brings me right back to Israel!

  7. Simeon Figg February 13, 2018 at 9:01 am - Reply

    It is such a powerful story, and illustration of Jesus Christ’s grace shown in this Genesis 15 story. Thanks, Brad.

  8. Yves3963 February 13, 2018 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    I would rather say that the Akedah (Sacrifice of Isaac) leads to the crucifixion, not the Covenant of the parts. However if you pay attention to the text there is a direct connection between the Covenant of the Parts and the Exodus. And why not, immediately before the Covenant of the parts (Gen 15:7) God said to Abraham: I will give you this land. And what event leads to the receiving of the land? The Exodus.
    Here is a perfect correlation between the Covenant of the parts and the Exodus.

    Abraham cut the animals in two — Moses splits the sea in two

    Abraham placed the pieces opposite to each other — the camp of Israel faced the camp of the Egyptians

    Abraham drove away the vulture — God threw the Egyptian army in confusion

    A burning torch passed between the pieces — pillar of fire
    following the Israelites while they crossed the split sea.

    • Brad Gray February 16, 2018 at 12:18 pm - Reply

      Great thoughts on the connections between Gen 15 and the Exodus. I wouldn’t say, however, that the Akedah leads to the crucifixion and Gen 15 does not. They both do! Genesis 22 is really significant in the ongoing narrative and relationship God has with Abraham. Like the Exodus, everything is tied together and will ultimately find their fulfillment in Jesus. So Gen 15, Gen 22, the Exodus, etc. will all lead to the crucifixion.

  9. Roxanne Bushen February 13, 2018 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    Great teaching! Thank you.

  10. Barbara Di Gilio February 13, 2018 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    Thank you Brad, enjoyed it. Whenever we come to the text from a Hebraic perspective we find so much more richness than Greek.

  11. Marlene Rosenberg February 14, 2018 at 10:14 am - Reply

    Great teaching, you make it so we can all understand. Thank you for trusting in God and following his direction in your life. Blessings to you and your family

  12. Troy Carothers February 14, 2018 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    Brad I think you had to compose yourself a bit when speaking of how great of a length God the Father went to in demonstrating His love and covenant to us by giving His Son to redeem us by His “splitting” wounds of blood and sacrifice. WOW.

  13. sneakerzimmer February 16, 2018 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Thanks for featuring my design! Love your colors, looks like an orange/red rose. ????

    • Brad Gray February 16, 2018 at 12:26 pm - Reply

      Appreciate the kind words about the look and color. What do you mean by featuring your design?

  14. Karen February 16, 2018 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    This was one of my most favorite teachings of yours. Such a beautiful expression of sacrificial love that literally makes the hairs in my arms stick up.

    I’m so grateful for the teachings about ancient customs and history. It’s been so beneficial in how I understand the Bible.

    Can’t wait for next week.

    One question, does the ebook come in a hard copy?

  15. Sue Christian February 18, 2018 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this teaching Brad. I always need to be reminded that God is bigger than I think He is. Well done and I am blessing God.

  16. Bill Black February 20, 2018 at 7:05 am - Reply

    If the translation is correct the shear audacity of YAHOVAH saying to His creation,
    If I fail to keep My covenant with you you may “cut me in half” and trample My blood like these cut in half animals and replace Me! The ENORMANITY of it! Staggering to ones mind!

  17. Bill Black February 20, 2018 at 7:11 am - Reply

    What a value YAHOVAH placed on His creation!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Robert + Nicole Chappuis March 13, 2018 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Thank you for allowing God to use you in my wife and I’s walk with God the fire is growing with these teachings. One thing you didn’t explain or we didn’t catch was the birds why didn’t he cut them in two? God Bless

  19. Cliff Washburn March 14, 2018 at 8:40 am - Reply

    Did you hear that, Brad? That was my mind being blown by this teaching. The covenant walk is so impactful to our walk with God. I’m forever grateful that He loves us enough to walk both ways since I’m forever just trying to figure out how to walk period. It explains so much of Abrams dedication to the promise, too!

  20. Kim Cook March 30, 2018 at 10:40 am - Reply

    I am always on the edge of my seat when you teach! I was listening to the podcast this morning, on the way to work (sorry, I’m so late getting to it!) but I was SO BLOWN AWAY that I had to pull over and clear my eyes and just THANK God for my own restoration! God’s plans revealed before my eyes… He has SUCH extravagant love for us! #sograteful I can’t wait to dig into the rest of these episodes. Our Life Group will be taking on Walking the Text with you! I’m SO excited!

    • Brad Gray March 31, 2018 at 5:07 pm - Reply

      Such an encouraging post to read, Kim. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Karl Figg April 2, 2018 at 10:34 am - Reply

    Brad, I never grow tired of hearing you relate this story. While reading John I was inspired about how this theme of God’s love passionately reoccurred thru scripture. In John 17 Jesus emphasizes this unparalleled love:
    “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭17:23‬ ‭
    Thank you faithfully sharing your passion and insights. Love in Crist, Karl

    • Brad Gray April 3, 2018 at 11:38 am - Reply

      I appreciate you sharing this, Crist and Karl 🙂

  22. Andy McCain December 3, 2018 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    Brad, that was an amazing bible discussion. Why is the covenant rarely discussed in the terms you did? It really helped me get a better understanding of the term itself and the impact of what it means for us a Christians. Thank you. Andy

    • Brad Gray December 4, 2018 at 11:18 am - Reply

      I really appreciated your comments, Andy. It all has to do with context. Some people are aware of it. Others are not. It’s the reason why WTT exists is to help people learn context so stories like these can be in the light they were intended 🙂

  23. Kelly February 17, 2019 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    I’m just starting the series an d I love what I’m learning! I was wondering, is there any chance a “next” button could be put on the page so it is easy to navigate forward in the series instead of navigating back to the main page, clicking to the end of the list, and then moving forward until I get to the episode that I’m on? I have a bit of a compulsion to go through series in order. Thanks for considering it! Please keep up the good work!

    • Brad Gray February 18, 2019 at 4:06 pm - Reply

      That’s a great recommendation, Kelly! Thank you. I’ll talk with my team and hopefully we can have something us real soon.

      • Kelly February 24, 2019 at 10:00 am - Reply

        Thank you for reading the comments & taking action! The links are now there and make it so much easier! Thank you! Thank you! God bless

        • Brad Gray February 25, 2019 at 12:11 pm - Reply

          Just sent you an email, Kelly. Thanks for the recommendation!

  24. Sue January 23, 2020 at 4:37 am - Reply

    My thought was ..why didn’t God Just come down at that time, to save the world from their sins through His blood? Why did the world have to go through all the sacrifices before Jesus came?

    • Brad Gray January 23, 2020 at 9:55 am - Reply

      Yep. Many people have asked that same question. And only God knows, right? One of the things we do see with the sacrificial system is that it clearly depicts how destructive sin is. I think we all, myself included, can forget how serious sin is, and that it needs (and needed) to be dealt with. What is amazing about the sacrificial system in Leviticus (and I need to do an episode on this at some point) is that God lays out what the people needed to do to be made right with Him. For the ancient pagans, they never knew where they stood in relation to the gods and goddesses. They believed the gods were angry and needed to be appeased. One of the ways of doing so was through sacrifice. The problem was, they never knew when enough was sufficient. So they even went to the extreme of sacrificing their own children to convey their allegiance to the gods. Over and over again, God stated that He didn’t need the sacrifices. The sacrifices weren’t for Him. They were for us to know how serious sin was (and is). And the grace of the sacrificial system was that God clearly laid out what was required for the people to know they had done enough, and that they were in right relationship with God. It’s stunning, actually, when set in its ancient context. God was offering extravagant love and grace through the sacrificial system.

  25. Laura October 25, 2021 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Just happening across this and this was an amazing experience. I feel like God allowed always reveals Himself more as I understand more of what the original context in the scripture was. Thank you so much for your hard work and obedience to the leading of the Lord. Such a blessing!

    • Brad Gray October 25, 2021 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      So thrilled you enjoyed this episode, Laura. This story from Genesis 15 has been so meaningful to me to as well. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Jo Stone October 28, 2022 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    I have a question. The word berit means covenant, and then you mention barah, to cut or separate. I looked it up on BibleHub and got to eat…. can you help me understand this? Thanks!

    • Brad Gray November 1, 2022 at 10:06 am - Reply

      Absolutely, Jo. You are correct in that the Hebrew word “barah” (bet, resh, he) is one of the words that means “to eat.” However, the word I was referring to in the teaching is “bara” (bet, resh, alef) which means “to cut or to separate.”

  27. Jeannette January 24, 2024 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Thank you for making these videos available! I just found them yesterday. Rather than jumping in on the recently posted videos, I scrolled all by the way down to the bottom to the first one and I’m glad I did! I really appreciated this one on Genesis 15. I am also looking forward to finding the one about the Restitution of All Things. I am familiar with that teaching from a Messianic church I had attended previously but that was the only pastor I knew who ever even mentioned it.

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