Summary: God’s determination to bless the world is seen in this story of Abram’s faith and fear
God’s Unbreakable Bond to You
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.”
Invite u to listen to an ancient story. Long ago, God made an astonishing revelation to a guy called Abram in Gen.12. He promised that Abram would become a success story. He’d be blessed. All the world’s gonna benefit from His success story. God made an unbreakable bond, a solid promise, a commitment to bless the world through him. God elaborated in Gen. 13:14-17, that he’d get land and he’d blessed with descendants that would too numerous to count. And indeed he was a success story. He was better than Donald Trump at his prime. He was filthy rich (Gen.13:2). This was a guy has no worries financially! Not only that, he was also a great military leader. Defeated 4 great mighty kings who carried off the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and also rescued his nephew Lot, who chose to live in Sodom (Gen.14). It was no contest! This is like what happened last week with the underdog Canadian baseball team who pulled off the great upset win against the highly favored superstar laden USA baseball team. Or the Swiss team beating our NHL superstar Canadian team in Olympic hockey! Everywhere Abram went God granted him success… yet he was not too sure about His future and His legacy.
What is his fear, you ask. Isn’t he rich, powerful, what’s there to fear now? V.2 elaborates - He’s childless, and there’s no future for his family line. To an ancient Asian like him, that’s speaks shame that God is not happy with him and death, death to the future, death to his legacy, and more than that death to his hopes in what God promised him. Where’s the promised too numerous to count offspring? From his viewpoint, he’s getting on in years. He is probably in his late seventies or early eighties. Sarai, his wife is not getting any younger as well. V.3 underscores the doubts he has of God’s promise to make him into a great nation (Gen.12:2). Remember this was a time when Viagra was not invented yet. He can’t see how he or his wife could be changing diapers and pushing a baby stroller. He’s closer to the grave than to the cradle! You can see he’s planning already to give his entire estate to Eliezer of Damascus in accordance to ancient law, someone who is not of his bloodline. This delay of the fulfillment of God’s promise made him fearful. Note that this is the first time the Genesis record says that Abram verbalize or spoke to God. All the while, Abram responded in obedience but for the first time, as he spoke he spoke from his fear.
So God was moved, and He spoke directly to Abram’s fear “Do not be afraid…” God assures him, using terms such as shield and very great reward. In other words, he’s telling Abram God’s supreme! Like the Veggie Tales song “God is bigger than the boogeyman, He’s greater than Godzilla and the monsters on TV !” God’s bigger than Abram’s fears. God will be the shield, can be translated sovereign, protector and in control, God’s really big. The situation looks bleak, the circumstances are insurmountable. How can 2 senior citizens, with no advanced medical technology, hope to pull this off? Might as well believe that pigs can fly!
I like this. It is so human, isn’t it? Often, when we speak to God, do we not speak from our fears, doubts, and anxieties about life? Abram says to God “what can you give me since I remain childless… you have given me no children?” Hear the desperation? Hear the frustration? Does God deny us permission to voice to God our doubts, fears? Who says we have to deny reality? Who says that believers cannot voice their true feelings re: God’s promises? I am glad also to see that God did not tell Abram to clam up and just do what he says because he said so.
Will you process your fears with God, who knows exactly where you are coming from Are you not glad to see that God responded graciously and in a comforting way to the old guy’s fear?
Life has a way to erode our confidence in God, does it not? And fears will come, and troubled we will become. Even to rich, successful people, who seemingly have no worries, like Abram, things that shake our confidence in God will come but God invites us to not deny the reality but to face it squarely with Him. Just when you feel God’s unbreakable bond to you is slipping away…
1. PROCESS YOUR FEAR WITH THE GOD, YOUR SHIELD AND VERY GREAT REWARD