Chapters 13 and 14 tell of Abram separating from his nephew, Lot. This was because both of them have so many animals; there isn’t enough grazing land for both of them. Abram also has to rescue Lot when he finds himself in the middle of a war between a number of cities. In this chapter, Abram seems to be having a bit of a faith crisis. After many years of struggling with infertility, he is questioning how God plans to give him the promised descendants. God reassures Abram that he will keep his promise. We are told that Abram believes God, so God considered Abram righteous. This verse is referenced in Roman 4:3, 22 and 23 and Galatians 3:6 to show us it is faith which makes us right with God, and James 2:23 tells us faith also leads to righteous living. The ceremony of God passing between the halves of the dead animals is saying that God would have to die like these animals before it would be possible for God not to keep his promise. That’s a pretty strong promise! It shouldn’t be necessary for God to confirm his promise this strongly, but God meets Abram in his weakness.
Here, and in chapter 12, we see Abram struggling with his faith and at other times being strong. Our faith is sometimes weak and sometimes strong too, but God always remains faithful. Faith is the first step in entering into a relationship with God, but that doesn’t mean our faith never wavers. If we want to stay close to God, we need more faith.