The providence of God is an encouraging thing to study in the Bible. God not only provides according to His promises, but the scriptures reveal that He does so in ways that often remove the opportunity of a person to participate in His work. God often works in spite of human limitations so that He may wait for circumstances to reach the point of "impossible" just so that He can be glorified when the work is done. God will also often do work on our behalf while we're not paying attention or are unable, once again, just so that He can be glorified.
When it comes to God's promises, some of the most relevant promises of our day is the Abrahamic Covenant, especially concerning the land. God made a set of promises to Abram in Genesis 12:3. In Genesis chapter 15, God ratified that covenant to prove to Abram that He is faithful and able to do exactly as He says, no matter the circumstances. The Abrahamic Covenant was confirmed again several times throughout the scriptures, but each time God confirmed His promises, He did so in ways that assigned all responsibility to Himself. This is proof that God's promise to make Abram into a great nation, to give the land inheritance, and to bless the world through the Seed of Abram would certainly come to pass. For example, in Genesis 15:7-21 God ratified the promises He made in Genesis 12:1-3. As Abram asked God for proof that he would be a great nation and possess the land that God reserved for His people, God answered the request and provided a sign.
God first reminded Abram about his testimony. God reminded Abram that He took Abram out of the land of the Chaldeans. God commanded Abram to leave the land he was living in and head sought to the area currently known as Israel. God promised that Abram would possess that land as his own, and God provided for Abram in that land while Abram was living there. Though Abram was living in the land of Canaan as a foreigner, God had provided and made Abram wealthy in the land nonetheless - even in the midst of a famine. Thus, the riches that Abram had attained while he as in Canaan were the work of God, not by coincidence or Abram's ability. The victories that Abram had achieved while living in the land were the work of God, not by coincidence or Abram's ability. Thus, God reminded Abram of the work He had already done as proof of the work that He would continue to do in the future.
Genesis 15:7-21 then explains that God asked Abram to demonstrate his faith through sacrifice. God commanded Abram to get a three-year-old cow, female goat, ram, and also a turtledove and a pigeon. Abram, in faith, obeyed the command of God and gathered his sacrifice. He split each animal down the middle with the exception of the birds, and while trying to keep scavenger birds away from his sacrifice, the scriptures explain that Abram fell asleep. Genesis 15:7-21 then explains that as Abram was asleep, great terror and darkness came upon him while the Lord began to speak with him in his sleep. God proceeded to confirm His promise regarding the land, but provided details as to when Abram would inherit the land. God prophesied that Abram's descendants would inherit the land from the brook of Egypt, to the Euphrates River; all of the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaim, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites. This area is generally referred to as modern-day Israel, though the boarders that God described are larger than Israel's modern-day boarders.
God confirmed that Abram's descendants would inherit the land several hundred years later. God stated that before inheriting the land, Abram's descendants would live as foreigners, enslaved and oppressed for 400 years. However, God also promised that He would deliver Abram's descendants after the 400 years, judge the nation that enslaved them, allow Abram's descendants to plunder that nation, and will give the land over to Abram's descendants. God promised that, while Abram would not receive the land inheritance himself at that time, he would live in peace and be buried at a ripe old age. God would exercise His sovereignty to judge as well as bless at the same time. The reason that Abram's descendants could not inherit the land at that time was because God would judge the Amorites for their sin that would reach its full measure in the future. Their judgment would be Israel's blessing. God's prophetic claim refers to Israel being in bondage to Egypt for 400 years before God destroy Egypt, allowed Israel to plunder Egypt upon leaving, and then God brought Israel into the land after 40 years in the wilderness. God's prophetic claims came to pass - each and every detail.
Genesis 15:7-21 then shows that all of these things would take place by the hand and work of the almighty God. Abram would not be involved in the fulfillment of God's promises. God's promises were unconditional and would be fulfilled in spite of Abram. God would not rely on Abram's performance, ability, or righteousness to fulfill His promises. Therefore, the scriptures show that while Abram was asleep, a smoking fire appeared and passed between the divided animals. This was an ancient way of ratifying agreements. When agreements were made, the two parties would pass though the animals together as confirmation of a particular agreement. However, the scriptures show that God passed through as the fire by Himself while Abram slept. Thus, the agreement was made, but the agreement was made with God alone. The Bible shows that as Abram awoke, he realized that the covenant had been ratified, especially because God again confirmed the boundaries of the land He would give to Abram.
This is important to understand. God does not rely on His creation in order to complete His work. God is not like humans. He is able to do anything He wants at any time, in any way that He pleases. His ways are always perfect and righteous according to His holy standard of righteousness. History confirms that people often get in the way of God's work. It's similar to a young son that really wants to help his dad do complicated work. The dad may let the child hold a tool and feel as if the child's work is helpful, but at the end of the day, dad is doing all of the work. The dad just lets the son participate in some way to develop connection with the son. God works in the same way. God didn't need Abram to fulfill His promises. God just wanted to bless Abram to demonstrate His grace, His mercy, His patience, and His power. God has continued to do so throughout the ages as He has protected the nation of Israel and allowed them to dwell in the land in spite of their disobedience, weakness, and sinful nature. Nevertheless, this is the God of the Bible. He is a God that seeks to bless, and exercise His power in order to make up for the shortcomings of His creation that stem from sin in order that He would be glorified through the process and the results of His work.