God makes a covenant with Abram in the midst of a complaint by Abram that he does not have a rightful heir to his household. He complains that the only person who might be worthy to possess his inheritance is just one of his workers, a slave actually. But the Lord says do not worry, I will send you an heir that is of your own issue, that comes from you biologically. In order to confirm the covenant the Lord had Abram prepare a sacrifice which the Lord came and finalized.
One of my favorite verses from this chapter is when God assures Abram that he is his shield. You can find that in vs.1. Interestingly it is after this assurance that Abram complains to God and says: You say you are my shield, but look at me. I don’t have any of the things that you promised I would have. So God makes a covenant with him and he does not hold back any of the bad news either. He tells Abram about the time of captivity that the Israelites will suffer under after the time of Joseph in the hands of Pharaoh and Egypt. But he promises that after that time they will leave with many possessions. All of this seems to play itself out. God is our shield. He doesn’t prevent arrows from coming at us, but does protect us from them.