Genesis 15: 8
The Lord had promised Abraham a great inheritance. The old man would have a son through whom a new line of people would arise and dwell in a new land. Imagine the multitude of the stars…
And in order to reinforce this, God unilaterally “cut the covenant”; pieces of sacrificial animals were laid down in parallel lines. And when it was dark and Abraham had fallen into a deep sleep, the presence of the Lord passed through this “way” of the covenant in the form of a “smoking furnace and a burning lamp”. It was thereby accomplished and ratified with an oath.
All his life Abraham would have the visceral recollection of this way of blood. The sight. The smell. The horrible dismembering of blameless beasts for sin’s sake. His powerlessness. God’s sufficiency alone to see this through, even unto death. But God could not die, said the man of the Old Testament. Other men, other families could pledge a transaction of loyalty in this fashion “unto the death”, but God?
Ah yes, but then there was Jesus, and the riveting, bloody, unilateral offering of Calvary. And when you get an honest look at that “way of blood”, at the unforgettable slaughter of innocence, you also become a new person with new capabilities. The sights, the sounds, even the smell will never leave you. Ask a veteran of some bloody campaign of war whether this is not so.
Isaiah 52: 14, 15