Genesis 15:1-7, 17-18 Reflection:
It is hard for us to understand what is happening in today's first reading; the whole idea of covenant has long since been lost to our culture.
In ancient times, man lived in close proximity to his neighbour. While their tents may have been a good distance apart, the actions of one person had a far greater effect on another; if one farmer claimed a well or shut off a field.
Society was much more interdependent. Neighbours had to pull together or the whole system would have fallen apart. Each person had to honour the commitments made to his neighbour.
Imagine how poor old Abram felt when this mysterious God of his said to him that he shall make a covenant with him; A God making a covenant, a legally binding commitment to a human being.
This is unheard of. In ancient cultures, God's were superhuman being who had to be appeased. Abram's God wanted the relationship of a neighbour and fellow worker in this life with Abram.
This is the beginning of Israel's unique relationship with God. The God of Israel is a God who is intimately involved in every detail of the lives of the people.
Just as he is today!