Friday, March 11, 2011

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.” (Gen 15:1)

Oh my goodness! There is so much here! This is the first time the phrase, “the word of the LORD,” is used. What does that mean? Well, the verse indicates that Abram had a vision - whether or not this was while he was sleeping or he was wide awake, we don’t know. But he definitely both SAW and HEARD from God in some way. And the LORD knew his heart and his need at that moment, for He tells Abram, “Do not be afraid...”

Abram must have been dealing with an inner struggle with fear. Note that the chapter opens with “After these things...” After what things? Well, he had just had an amazing military victory when he rescued Lot; he had just experienced a spiritual victory when he resisted the temptations of the king of Sodom; and he had also had a spiritual high in his encounter with Melchizedek. After all of that spiritual adrenaline, Abram hit an emotional low - and this is so typical!

We need to be on guard after we’ve had a mountaintop experience, because Satan waits to rob our joy. Whenever I have spent time away at a women’s retreat, where I’ve been fed and blessed, I most often found discouragement waiting for me back in the valley. I have also found that being forearmed with prayer has truly helped me recognize and deal with the enemy!

Anyway, this is the first time in the Bible where God says, “Do not be afraid!” Knowing our predilection to fear, God repeats this phrase over and over. I’ve often heard that this phrase, or a form of it, appears 365 times - one for each day - of course, I googled the question! The answers were split on the exact numbers, but all agree that it’s used MANY times!

Fear is immobilizing. It paralyzes us, making us completely ineffective for God. It is the exact opposite of fear. And, yet, God knows our weakness so He reminds us that HE is our strength! Here, He specifically tells Abram, I am your shield. “Whatever you are facing, Abram, I will be there to protect you and defend you. I’m in front of you - whatever comes your way, has to come through me first!” And beyond that, God tells Abram that He is also his “very great reward.” Can we hold onto that??! Friends, there is NOTHING more that we can want or gain that is equal to God - He IS the prize - He IS the reward. He is our goal - the Alpha and the Omega, the A-Z, the beginning and the end, everything we could ever want or need is met in Him alone!

What is it that is causing you fear today? Is it financial disaster? Marital stress? The test results you received from the doctor? Is it the future of your wayward teen? Are you fearful that you will never marry or have a child? Whatever your fear is, God commands us to “Fear not!” He goes before us, He walks with us and He goes behind us! He has us covered!  Don’t let anything shake that trust! He IS your shield and He IS your great reward! Tomorrow we will look at how specifically He meets Abram’s deepest fears and longings!


1 comment:

  1. Once again, a post you wrote many days ago is serving as an encouragement on this day. My best friend's dad suffered a severe midbrain stroke a little more than five weeks ago and I will be sharing parts of your blog post with her. Thank you!

    If you'd like to read part of their story, I helped her start a blog--