1. After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield, your very great reward."
2. But Abram said, "O Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?"
3. And Abram said "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir."
4. Then the word of the Lord came to him: "This man will not be your heir but a son coming from your own body will be you heir."
5. He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars - if indeed you can count them." Then He said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
6. Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
7. He also said to him, "I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it."
8. But Abram said, "O Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?"
9. So the Lord said to him, "Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon."
10. Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however he did not cut in half.
11. Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
12. As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.
13. Then the Lord said to him, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years.
14. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possession.
15. You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age.
16. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure."
17. When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeard and passed between the pieces.
18. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates -
19. the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,
20. Hittites, Perissites, Rephaites,
21. Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.
Abram was so close to God that he had conversations with Him. And not just polite, religiously correct conversations that began with "Dear God" and ended with "Amen." These conversations were open, honest and direct. Abram was hurting and he told God about it. And he received an answer. But before he received the answer he was given some instructions. He carried these instructions out. And waited. And chased away birds. And waited. I'm sure during this time of waiting a lot of thoughts were going through Abram's mind. Maybe he questioned what he had just heard. Maybe he wondered if he had been to free with what he said to God. Maybe he thought God had walked away and forgotten him. The Bible doesn't tell us that part but we do know Abram was human and as fellow humans it's easy to imagine that the waiting was probably hard. But in the end - God answered. God answered and Abram believed.