Daily Word

Smoking pot and torch | Genesis 15:17-21

17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”

Genesis 15:17-21 (ESV) 

Smoking pot

No, Abram wasn’t smoking pot! You remember that God was making a covenant with Abram (Genesis 15:7-11). The way they did covenants (think contract on steroids in our terms) was to kill animals, cut them in half and lay them in a row. The two parties walk between the parts to show their agreement and commitment to the covenant – like signing a contract. Both parties should walk between the animals. But here, only the Lord does. A smoking fire pot and flaming torch pass between the animal parts.

God present

The pot and torch (probably as a unit) represent God. As we follow the path through to the Israelites becoming a nation, we see the Lord often represented in fire and smoke and light. These show us His power, holiness, and authority. For example, we see a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night when God leads Israel out of Egypt through the wilderness to the Promised Land.

God committed to uphold both sides of the covenant. “Therefore, the certainty of the covenant God made with Abram is based on who God is, not on who Abram is or what Abram would do. This covenant could not fail, because God cannot fail.” (enduringword.com)

So this event, in combination with the Lord speaking to him, caused the “terror” that he felt (v12). He knew that something wonderful and amazing was happening – that he was in the presence of the holy Lord God!


When we look back to verse 7, we read, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans”. Compare this to Exodus 20:2 where God is speaking to Israel in the wilderness at Mt. Sinai: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt”. We notice a striking parallel; just the location is different.

“It is part of the overall strategy of the book to show that what God did at Sinai was part of a larger plan which had already been put into action with the patriarchs. Thus, the exodus and the Sinai covenant serve as reminders not only of God’s power and grace but also of God’s faithfulness. What he sets out to accomplish with his people, he will carry through to the end.” (planobiblechapel.org quoting Sailhamer)


  • Let us rejoice in the faithfulness of our God. Give thanks for His plans which are complete and perfect. We can trust Him.
  • Is God calling you specifically to trust Him in some area? Your spirit wants to but your flesh doubts. God knows that. He gives grace. Choose to look at His faithfulness displayed in His word and in the lives of others…and you! Trust Him!
Incense pot smoking. Image from Pxfuel.com

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