I am your shield, your very great reward

Posted by admin on 19 August 2013 in Genesis |

Genesis 15:1 - 18

    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.”

In Chapter 14, Abram took 318 trained men from his household, deployed night combat, rescued his relative Lot, recovered everything, and came back as the war hero.

After this victory & success, Abram might be suffering the fear of counterattack. Further, he didn’t have a legitimate child to inherit from him.

In a vision, God told Abram not to be afraid (1). He said,

“I am your shield.” God is preventer & protector. God can prevent the war against Abram. God can protect Abram’s life & possession.

“I am your very great reward.” God himself is very great reward for Abram. God who knows Abram’s needs and cares for him is faithful and sufficient.

   2 But Abram said, “Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

Here, Abram called God ‘Sovereign LORD’. God is sovereign.

God is sovereign over the battle.

In 1 Samuel 17:47, David said “the battle is the LORD’s.” In 1 Samuel 14:6, Jonathan said “Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.” Abram experienced this in the battle (Chapter 14).

God is sovereign over the life.

God has Sovereignty over our lives including marriage & childbearing. As shown in Genesis 2:21 – 22, it is God who created woman for man and it is God who brought her to the man.

I note how Abram expressed in v2: “what can you give me since I remain childless… you have given me no children…” Abram raised his real-life issue of his ‘own’ child.

Believers can bring real-life issues to God, who has sovereignty over them all.

God answered Abram that he would have his own child, who would inherit from him (4). And his offspring shall be as countless as the stars at the sky (5). What was Abram’s response to God’s word? See v6.

   6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

This short one verse could be easily overlooked. But it teaches us how man can be justified by God - by faith. Here, Abram didn’t have to work to earn righteousness from God. Instead, He simply believed what God was going to do.

This verse 6 is quoted by Paul in Romans 4:3 to teach ‘justification by faith alone’. Romans 4:4-5 says,

   4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.

See v7.

   7 He also said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”

God reminded Abram of what God already had done – saving Abram from Ur. The purpose of the salvation was the possession of the promise land. This is similar to why God saves us – for us to inherit the kingdom of heaven.

   8 But Abram said, “Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”

Above question was asked not to disbelieve but to believe God.

In ancient time, there was no way of writing a contract to confirm a promise. They cut animals half and walked between two pieces and confirmed the promise. This ceremony means that the confirming person will be cut half if he does not keep the promise. God confirmed his promise through this ceremony (9 - 10, 17).

During this confirmation, God told Abram that his descendants would be enslaved in a country for 400 years (13) and come back here to own the land (16). Here we can see that God did not promise 'no trouble'. In fact, Israelites cried out to God in the midst of troubles (slavery, hunger, thirsty, …) and learnt to trust God.

See v18a.

18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram…

Hebrews 9:16 – 18 says

   16 In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18 This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. 

God’s promise was confirmed by God himself through sacrificial ceremony.

Thus, God made a covenant with Abram.

Let us read 1 John 5:6 – 12

 6 This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. 9We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

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