Thoroughly Equipped: Your Very Great Reward

Abram’s knowledge of and relationship with God kept him from making unhealthy alliances which could have had repercussions in the future.  He could not risk having the Canaanite king claim kingship over him.  Why?  Because he already had a king.  Let’s look at Genesis 15:1.

            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.”                                                      

The word used here as “shield” can also be translated as “sovereign.” Any way you look at it, the reference is to the Lord as Abram’s King.  Here and many places elsewhere in the Bible, this word “shield” stands for king.  The definition of king according to the Holman Concise Bible Dictionary is:

Male monarch of a major territorial unit; especially one whose position is hereditary and who rules for life. 

God wants His territory to be a monarchy, meaning He is the only ruler over our hearts, minds, souls, families, jobs, homes, churches, and desires.  He wants it all.  And He deserves it all, for He is the King of all Kings.  Are you holding back any of your life’s territory from God?  Is there any small closet in the rooms of your life and heart which you have kept locked away?  Are you ready to give up the key?  Are you ready for God to have your whole life’s territory?

We see something else important in that one verse.  Let’s look at it again.  “Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your very great reward.”

When we look over the history of the world, we know that there are good kings and bad kings.  The bad kings make the people miserable and keep them poor, needy, and oppressed.  Those, indeed, are kings to be afraid of.  But what does God say in this verse?  “Do not be afraid.”  Why?  Because He is not only a good King; He is the Great I Am, the Best King of all!  He will never keep His people poor and needy and oppressed.  Look at some of the other things this Greatest of Kings has said:

  Looking at his disciples, he said:                                                                                                                 “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” 

                                                                                (Luke 6:20) 

            “Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise,” says the LORD. “I will protect them from those who malign them.”               

                                                                              (Psalm 12:5)

Surrendering everything to the Lord can be scary.  But if we know Who we are dealing with, we do not need to be afraid. God also said, “I am … your very great reward.” Abram was already very wealthy.  He had an abundance of riches and material things.  But God was saying, “My Kingship is greater than these.  My Kingship offers you the security you long for, and no other riches can compare.”

This is a good thing for us Americans to reflect upon.  We are a wealthy people.  Even the poorest here are wealthier than the majority of people elsewhere in the world.  But even in our wealth, we struggle with worry.  We have needs.  This current economic crisis has affected everyone.  It has caused many of us to fear in one way or another.  But what does God have to say about that?

            Do not be afraid … I am your shield, your very great reward.

He will meet your needs according to His riches in heaven, as Philippians 4:19 says, but He must be given kingship over every territory of your life.

Abram was a lot like us—he still had doubts.  Genesis 15:2 starts out, “But Abram ….”  Those two words say a lot.  He still had to deal with the truth of God’s Word meshing with his current reality.  His reality was he still didn’t have an heir to fulfill the promise given to him. So God “took him outside and said, ‘Look up.’”  Look up!  Chin up!  Don’t be down.  Don’t be discouraged!

But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless …?”  He [God] 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.”  Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

                                                                      (Genesis 15:2, 5-6)

God said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” There must have been a pause there for Abram to see all the stars.  I picture him looking up, seeing all those stars.  Maybe he started counting:  1, 2, 3, 4, 20, 40, 60, 80.  I wonder on what number he stopped and thought, “No, I can’t count them all.”

Then God said, “So shall your offspring be.”  I can envision Abram taking a deep breath and renewing his faith and making a new decision to trust.  Verse six shows us that this was a defining moment for Abram.  In fact, though he couldn’t have known it at the time, this would become what Abram was forever remembered for:  “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”

He just believed.  It is as if God were saying, “Well done!  It is good and right.  You are righteous because you just believe.”

Now, God could have ended this special moment at that point.  He had Abram where he wanted him.  But God, as always, went a step further.  I picture it as if He smiled, maybe laughed out loud in excitement, rubbed His holy hands together in anticipation, and thought:  “Okay!  Now comes the good part!  I am going to show him something more, something great, something that will affect him now but will have the greatest effect on the world in the future.”  Then He began to speak again.  It’s like He is clearing His throat, beginning an extremely important speech and demonstration, and He wants Abram to follow Him closely.  He calls him to remembrance.  He says in Genesis 15:7:

I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.

Abram then acknowledged Him as King by referring to Him as Sovereign Lord, but in great honesty also approached Him as Someone with whom he had a close relationship— Someone with whom he could be honest about how he really felt.

            But Abram said, “O Sovereign Lord, how can I know …?”

(Genesis 15:8)

Abram said, “How can I know that I will gain possession of it?  I have made you my King; I do believe, but … how can I know?”  We may feel the same way sometimes.  “Lord, I love you; I do trust You, most of the time.  But, Lord, how can I know that you will keep your promises?”

The Lord began to reveal to Abram something so important that it would forever affect Abram and will forever affect us, if we can take the time to understand it and apply it.  He began to reveal the significance of covenant.  Covenant is a never-ending promise.  God always keeps His promises!

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