Summary: PENTECOST 12(C) - The Lord is our Shield and our Reward: our comforting Shield for our earthly living and our undeserved Reward in our eternal living.
THE LORD IS OUR SHIELD AND REWARD
GENESIS 15:1—6 AUGUST 31, 2003
1After 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."
2But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?" 3And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir."
4Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir." 5He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
6Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
How many of us haven’t met a great challenge in life and finally said, ‘Wow! We’re glad that’s over.’ We heard an example this morning in our first lesson (1 Kings 19:3-8). Elijah was ready to give up on life, ready to say, ‘There’s nothing left to live for.’ An angel came and strengthened him and he was able to look back and say, ‘The Lord is my strength and my reward.’ King David lived in Israel and ruled God’s people. As he ruled God’s people, he also fought many battles. There were many battles that he went into where the enemy was far stronger, bigger in numbers and had more war equipment. Yet David went ahead and fought those who stood against God and His kingdom. In Samuel, as he looked back at his life, realized that the Lord was his shield and great reward. From Samuel we read these words. "He (David) said: ’The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior--from violent men you save me’"(2 SAMUEL 22:2,3). Looking back, David expressed what the Lord had told Abraham – ‘The Lord is my shield and my reward.’
Today the words of encouragement that we have from the example of Abraham are the very same. We would agree with David, we would agree with Elijah, we would agree with Abraham and say
THE LORD IS OUR SHIELD AND OUR GREAT REWARD
I. A comforting shield for our earthly living
II. An undeserved reward in our eternal living
I. A comforting shield for our earthly living
To better understand today’s text, we need to look at chapters 13 and 14 of Genesis. We find there an account where Lot and his family are taken away as prisoners. You may remember Abram and Lot. The Lord had blessed them so much that their flocks were so big that no longer could they stay together. The animals that they had would eat up all the pasture and there was not enough for both of them so they went their separate ways. Lot took the plains of the fertile valley and Abram took the mountainous region. Because Lot chose that which was better, there were also other nations that wanted that land. Four kings rose up, defeated all the cities that were there and took all the inhabitants as prisoners. Abram heard about it so he, in his display of true Christian character, goes out and with the arm of the Lord defeats these four kings. He rescues Lot and his family. He rescues all of the people from the five cities who were taken away. He gets back all of their possessions. What does he do? He delivers the once defeated people back to their cities, gives all of their possessions back. They want to reward Abram but he says, ‘No. My reward is that the Lord has given us the victory.’ The only thing that Abram does with all the spoils of the war is that he gives ten percent to Melchizedek, a priest of the Lord.
Then we have Chapter 15 and our text for today in verses 1-6. The Lord comes to Abram and says, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward." We might wonder to ourselves, ‘Why does the Lord say do not be afraid, Abram.’ Abram had just defeated these four kings. He was victorious. Abram had everybody returned to where they lived. The Lord knew that in Abram’s heart there was still something bothering him and Abram was going to tell the Lord. The Lord gives Abram a chance – He says, ‘don’t be afraid. I’m your shield, your great reward.’ 2But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?" The Lord had given Abram the victory. The Lord had given Abram the opportunity to restore people to their rightful places. Still, Abram remembered the promises of the Lord that he would have children. Abram said to the Lord, ‘But Eliezer is going to inherit my estate.’ He repeats it again. 3And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir." That’s what was bothering Abram. Abram had heard the promises of God – that he should leave his homeland, that he should leave his father, that he should be a wanderer and he followed the Lord. The Lord had told him also that his descendants would inherit all of his estate and yet here now, in this instance, Abram was wondering if the Lord would keep all His promises. He’s trusting in himself a bit, isn’t he?