When the Ravens Come

Birds of prey descended upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away. Genesis 15:11 (Tanach)

Abram has trusted in HASHEM (v6) for the promise of offspring and for the land, for which HASHEM has “reckoned it to him as righteousness.” Abram then asks HASHEM how he can be assured and know that he will indeed inherit the land, to which he receives a command instead of an answer: “Take to Me three heifers, three goats, three rams, a turtledove, and a young dove.” (v9) In issuing the command, HASHEM offers a covenant that will seal His promise. Abram does as commanded, dividing the hoofed animals and arraying them before HASHEM for His pleasure.

Enter the birds of prey (one can imagine ravenous black ravens) intent upon stealing and devouring what was intended for HASHEM and Abram, robbing both of the blessing of the sacrifice and their union in the future. Note that it is Abram who intervenes to drive away the evil interlopers, not HASHEM. Abram intervenes, not God Himself. That is our lesson for today.

Evil will not always appear in our lives as ravenous ravens, but it is always ravenous despite its outward appearance. We are tempted by all kinds of lusts, for food, position, fame, power, riches, and sexual immorality of all manner. As believers, however, our life is to be a living sacrifice to the One who redeemed us, the One who sacrificed His Son for our sake. That is how much He loves us, and that is how much His Son, Jesus, loves us. One sacrificed His beloved; the beloved willingly paid the price. We understand that well. Yet, we must face the world daily, choose daily, and act daily. We have been purchased with the Blood of the Perfect Lamb and are not our own. God expects us to follow Abram’s example, protecting the covenant and promise of the sacrifice. He expects us to drive away the ravens of our lives, and He is clear about His expectation.

“I am El Shaddai; walk before Me and be perfect.” Genesis 17:1 (Tanach)


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