Devotional: Genesis 15:1-5
Key Verse: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” Genesis 15:1
What had he done! Oh the mess he had made. Defeating four kings of the east meant Abram now had four enemies in the east. Humiliated, would they retaliate? What of Sarai? What of the servants, the men, their families? Had he endangered them all?
Obviously we don’t know what Abram’s thoughts were. But isn’t that the way it works? A small fear creeps into the far corner of our minds. We let it take root. Water it with all kinds of “what if” scenarios until it wraps itself around every thread of truth; dismantling our confidence; overriding any desire to press forth. Encouraging us to just give up; wave a little white flag of surrender; and hide. Or hyperventilate. Or eat chocolate. Or buy something new and pretty and distracting. (Or maybe that’s just me.)
All the while God remains patient; faithful. Abram must have been experiencing at least some fear on the heels of his great victory or God wouldn’t have said “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield” (Gen. 15:1). How truly marvelous to have God as one’s shield. Maybe for Abram you might say but God’s not been any sort of shield for me. Oh but he has dear friends. He has. In Christ you are forever shielded from hell. Forever shielded from God’s wrath. Shielded from an eternity of pain and suffering. Shielded from the daily accusations of the evil one. Absolutely Jesus is your shield; your mighty shield. “But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head” (Ps. 3:3).
But just as God did not shield Jesus from pain and suffering neither will he shield us. Maybe sometimes. But suffering “produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Rom. 5:4) making us more like Christ. Drawing us to him. Giving us opportunity to showcase his faithfulness and bring him glory.
So we remain strong; steadfast; believing he rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6). Abram had given up the spoils of war for God’s glory and the sacrifice had not gone unnoticed. No sacrifice we give to God goes unnoticed (Luke 12:6-7). God assured Abram “your reward shall be very great.” But I love how the New King James Bible states it, “I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” God himself was Abram’s reward! His exceedingly great reward!
God himself – our reward! The greatest reward. Nothing else could compare! Nothing! Yet so often we want something else. Sometimes so desperately we’d do anything for it. But what if Jesus were the one thing I desired most? What if he were the absolute longing of my heart? What sort of contentment and joy and wonderment might I find if I sought Jesus as my greatest reward?
Daily my greatest reward. Daily my ambition; my motive; my passion. I think alas I would know him as my shield. We wonder – where are you God? Where are you in this mess? But could it be we see him not because we think on him not. Consumed by the worries of today and tomorrow. Consumed by my wants and desires. My ever increasing wish list. I soon forget whom it is that truly satisfies. I soon forget what is truly my reward. If only I could stay my mind on Him, what a shield I would have. What a shield! Against temptation. Against fear. Against jealousy, discontentment, and sadness. Against every flaming dart sent to disarm my faith. For truly he is the reward!
Yet we have strong desires. Desires that just don’t seem to go away. Sometimes of our own making…sometimes God given. For Abram it was a son. A child – of his very own. Year upon year passed and still no heir. I cannot imagine the ache; the disappointment. Abram had been promised a nation would come from him. Through him would come blessing to every family of the world. He remembered the words spoken to him. No doubt he remembered the words. But still…no child.
So he asked. (God wants us to bring our requests before him.) “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless?” (Gen. 15:2) And God answered piling grace upon grace, “your very own son shall be your heir...number the stars, if you are able to number them…So shall your offspring be” (Gen. 15:4-5). What a gracious God we serve! “Don’t worry Abram I am your exceedingly great reward!” But Lord I want a son? But Lord I want______(fill in the blank). How often I fill in the blank! How often I unknowingly tell God he’s not enough for me. Yet he chides me not. Instead he listens. And if I’m listening reassures me of his sovereignty. Just as he reassured Abram, “You will have a son and much much more.” What grace! What beautiful grace!
He loves us friends. He really does. Bring your requests. Brings your desires. Bring your aches and burdens. Bring them to the Lord. And leave them…there…amid his sovereignty. Believing. Trusting he will do what’s best for you. Because he will. He always will. He proved that at calvary with every nail; every beating; every scar; every thorn; every excruciating hour…for you…for me. So that he could be our exceedingly great reward!