7 Then He said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.” 8 And he said, “Lord God, how shall I know that I will inherit it?” 9 So He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two.– Genesis 15:7-10
Right before this, the Lord had brought Abram outside to look toward heaven and count the stars; “So shall your descendants be,” He said. Abram believed in the Lord, and it was counted as righteousness.
That settled the heavenly part. How about the earthly part? Your life has two sides: spiritual and practical, heavenly and earthly. When you have stars, you have to have the land. You have to have the land in order to contain the descendants. Here, this life becomes sober. On the spiritual side, you see the stars. You see the vision of all of your descendants. At the same time, the Lord’s word is, “I gave you this land.” God desires for you to see something so high and, at the same time, something very practical.– Notes from Message 10, Summer Vision Week 2019)
Right after showing Abram the incredible array of stars in the heavens, the Lord directs him to what’s right in front of him—the land.
If you want to get heavenly riches, you have to be earthly. How can you be earthly? You have to die. God asked Abram to bring him five animals: the heifer, the female goat, the ram, the turtledove, and the pigeon. It’s very interesting. Five means responsibility; you have to offer. Who is bearing the responsibility of offering? You. Who is bearing the responsibility so that the offering can be real? Me [the Lord]. When young people say, “Lord I want to give my life to you,” you say “Amen!” You know they don’t know what they are praying, do you get my point? When university comes in, [when deciding] which university they should go to, there is no Christ at all, just the university they like. A lot of things happen, but the Lord says, “You bring, you kill.” But who makes it real? Me. The Lord makes it real. Could you believe your life in Christ is that interesting? You got to learn to bring five items to the Lord.– Excerpts from notes and transcripts from Messages 10 & 11, Summer Vision Week 2019
This picture of the heavenly and the earthly is an illustration of our growth in the Christian life. The Lord led Abram outside to see something different; He enlarged his view, and Abram responded in belief. In the same way, we continually need fresh seeing and fresh understanding to strengthen our faith. However, these visions need to become real in our life and living. When Abram responded in faith towards God’s promise of descendants, he had no son. He didn’t have a single descendant yet. They were still in the heavens. After bringing Abram through the visceral experience of offering and cutting the different animals, God was then able to reveal a more complete picture of the promise to him.
Similarly, when we see a fresh vision of the Lord—His grace, His mercy, His love, His church, His beauty, etc.—it takes time for that heavenly vision to be worked into us. It is not meant to just be in the clouds for us to gaze and marvel at, but through continually offering ourselves to the Lord and through giving different things in our life to Him, what He reveals to us is slowly made real in our life and earthly living. We offer, but He makes it real. What could this look like for us? For some reason we are able to show more grace. We are more merciful, compassionate, and kind. We find our love for the brothers and sisters around us has grown, and we radiate with a humble reverence towards the Lord.
How does the vision become real? We bring and offer, but the Lord makes it real. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Romans 12:1)