But notice that verse 17 says that once the sun had gone down, God appeared as a smoking oven and as a burning torch and passed in between the pieces. Remember that normally both parties that were entering into covenant would walk through the pieces, but Abraham was asleep. Though scripture doesn’t clearly identify how, somehow Abraham was still aware of what was going on. Abraham’s sleeping was most likely because God Himself was coming to walk through the covenant blood, and it was impossible for people to see God without dying (see Exodus 33:20), so God was choosing to reveal Himself and His covenant in a way where Abraham could see it indirectly.
That being said, God was the only party to enter into the fullness of the covenant. In other words He took it upon Himself to bear the full weight of the covenant alone without having Abraham do anything but be a witness to it and receive the benefits from it. That is also another tidbit to remember for later.
Hebrews 6:13 says:
13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself. (NKJV)
God entered into covenant (verse 18) by swearing the oath unto Himself because there was no greater force by which He could swear. He affirmed His promise that everything He had shown Abraham about his future would come true, and He did so by walking through the blood of the covenant…alone!
I had been reading about Abraham and the covenant and meditating on it when the Holy Spirit took me to other parts of scripture and pieced them together in a different way that changed the context in which I had been reading them and how I had been applying them to my life.