“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” It’s interesting that God didn’t always speak to Abram in the same way. Sometimes He came in bodily form, as a theophany, sometimes He spoke from heaven and here He speaks through a vision. God knows exactly what we need to hear and how we need to hear it. Here in Genesis 15, Abram was doubting his call. He had followed it from Ur to this wild, pagan land, because God had said He would make of Abram a great nation. Yet Abram had no children, and the land God had promised him was occupied by kingdoms now more or less against him since he had defeated the kings who captured his nephew Lot. At this point of uncertainty, God speaks in a way that is memorable and clear. He not only affirms His promises to Abram, but he expands upon them, foretelling the sojourn of Israel in Egypt and their redemption from slavery. “On that day God made a covenant with Abram.” It wasn’t just a promise anymore; God sealed the deal with a contract. I’ve always loved verse 1; it’s a promise that all of God’s children can claim. All of us at times need to hear that: Don’t be afraid. I AM both your defense and your reward. He is our refuge in this troubled world, in dark times, in times of doubt and fear; we can run to Him in dark times and find comfort and security. Yet He is more than that: God, Himself, is our “reward”–not just our Rewarder but the reward itself. In Him, we find riches this world cannot offer, such as love, joy and peace; strength and courage; power for living here and now; the Word of truth; salvation and eternal life. More than just these things He gives us, we have the reward of WHO he is. I think of friends who are a blessing just by virtue of their personality or gifts; the one who is just always encouraging, the one who is positive and upbeat, the one who is wise in counsel, the one who just loves you thoroughly. Through Jesus Christ, we can experience God in that way. HE IS our reward!
Reading: Genesis 15