Thursday, December 1, 2011

Our Reward

Thursday, December 1

Genesis 15:1-6
New Living Translation (NLT)
The Lord’s Covenant Promise to Abram
 1 Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.”
 2 But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. 3 You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.”
 4 Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” 5 Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”
 6 And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.

Ooh! I love this! (Of course, I love them all… But really, this is thrilling!)
Here we have the second statement of God’s covenant with Abraham/Abram. Every time God restates it (and don’t we as people need to hear everything important more than once), he adds a little more detail, a lot more blessing.
God first spoke to Abram about making him a great nation in Genesis 12:
1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
 4 So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. 5 He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all his wealth—his livestock and all the people he had taken into his household at Haran—and headed for the land of Canaan.
I love Abraham. He and Sarah did a lot of abysmally stupid things to try to “help” God fulfill his promise (how many times have I done that just this week!) but God of course persevered through all that and even turned their mistakes for his glory. But give Abram and Sarai credit – God said go to this strange place far from home (no Skype, no GPS, not even snail mail to speak of) and Abram packed up and he went. He was 75! And he believed God about his descendants being a great nation, even though he and Sarai were childless and OLD. He believed God so much he picked up himself and his wife and all his PEOPLE and his STUFF and he moved. The obedience of Abraham right here at the start is always worth pondering.
Over and over in scripture we see that our love for God and our obedience to his commands are inseparable, synonymous. As much as we would love to show our love for God by other means – especially talking about how much we love Him – the standard remains obedience. A favorite verse of mine (among hundreds) on this subject is:
Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
John 14:20-22
Well, I could go on and on about Genesis 12, or John 14, and those aren’t even our passages for today.
Today we consider Genesis 15. These passages matter at Christmas time because God said he would bless all nations through Abraham, and the ultimate way (though not the only way) he did and does that was through Abraham’s descendant, Jesus. Again, we see that God had this plan of redemption all along. He showed it to Abraham in countess ways, most graphically when he asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac and then provided a lamb to be sacrificed in Isaac’s place. (Genesis 22)
The Lord promised Abraham blessing and reward. And Abraham didn’t care about the reward because what he really longed for was a Son. If he did not have a Son, the whole thing fell apart anyway. How many times am I not considering the blessings God has already placed right in front of me because I’m obsessing about the one that hasn’t manifested yet?
Even more, how many times have I been like Abraham and missed that the LORD himself is my reward. If you read Genesis 15:1 in the NIV, it says “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, and your very great reward.” King James says “I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”  I say it again, GOD HIMSELF IS OUR REWARD.
God came to Abraham in a vision at a time when he needed encouragement, a renewal of his covenant, and he got Abraham’s mind back on the right, though still invisible, track. He kindly said, “no, your servant isn’t going to be your heir.” Then he said, “count the stars, if you can.” A little bit of humor there. A little bit of “here you are all worried about how my plan is not working out and you can’t even begin to count all the stars that I created and know by name.” My very big problems and concerns are pretty small in the scheme of the universe. That doesn’t make them smaller to me, because I’m still little me, but it is certainly comforting and perspective-inducing.
6 And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.

Amen. Amen. I want to be like that. I want to believe and be counted righteous for my faith. And I can believe, and I can be counted righteous, because God made a covenant with Abraham and he has kept it to this day and I am walking in blessing because of it.
Tomorrow’s scripture: Deut. 18:15-19


  1. That Scripture blew me away. I had forgotten how important faith I am trying to plan out my whole life when God's already got it all taken care of. All we've got to do is trust in Him.
    It lifts off a lot of the stress when you consider that. And I think God is pleased when we surrender our situations to Him.
    I read Psalm 11 the other day and verse 1 was so awesome. "In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: 'Flee like a bird to your mountain.'?"
    The Lord God--
    He's so cool. Such a mind-blowing Reward!

    Sometimes when my problems seem too overwhelming, it's cuz I've inadvertently given them precedence over God. I have to stop and remind myself to keep an eternal perspective-a Heavenly perspective.
    And then faith can bring me back to the spot I need to be in.

    Thanks for the awesome Scriptures, Mrs. Dawson, and for sharing your thoughts. They're uplifting. :)


  2. Wow, Sarah. Thank you! Mind-blowing is right! Your thoughts really ministered to me.

    And in addition to all you said, I love that you reminded me of "flee like a bird to your mountain." I love that verse!!