Sunday, May 24, 2009

Our Great Reward

Often in Genesis 15:1-21 the focus is on a number of things; God’s promise of descendants, a promise of land and Justification by Faith alone. While these are important I think verse 1 is key to this passage, which was the focus of today’s message: Our Great Reward. Right after Abram has rescued Lot from the 4 kings God appears before him and declares that he is not to fear. There are a number of things that a recently successful Abram may have feared: Retaliation of the kings, anger from the king of Sodom for not taking his offer, uncertainty of the promises of God and also simply being spoken to by God in a vision. But this is all to set the scene for today’s passage and specifically verse 1.

What I think is so telling is that God does not set about answering specific fears of Abram but instead tells him what is of greatest importance. God relates to Abram that He is his shield and the great reward. The KJV seems to give the best interpretation of the Hebrew by making it clear that God is the reward He speaks of and the great reward spoken of is not the promises of posterity or land. Certainly they are rewards but not the exceeding great reward that God Himself is.

I think this is so key as all too often when we share the Gospel it is overly focused on the personal benefits to the one being shared with and thus the Gospel message often becomes very man centered. However, if we were to share the Good News as Abram hears here our message would be different. It would have God as the focus and not the promises of God. This is not to minimize the promises of God but to instead maximize the person of God. This is to not focus on the promises but the promiser. The truth is, as with Abram, we need to be focused on God as our shield and reward, “exceeding great reward”, and it is because of this we can have hope and have our fears quelled.

Abram needed to know that his focus should to be on God and realize that God would fulfill His promises in His time and His way. When we begin to focus on what we see as the promises of God we end up many times being overly inwardly focused and lose sight of God being our reward. The truth is how many of us are truly satisfied simply to know we have God as our reward if nothing else, from our perspective, goes as we would plan.

Let us then always start with our focus on God Himself and not on what He can do for us. Remember when you share the Gospel that the only thing you can truly promise is that God is the great reward. You cannot promise wealth, health or any number of other temporal benefits as those are in the hands of God. You can promise that no matter the circumstances God has you in He will always be there and be ones shield and “exceedingly great reward.” So let us live a life that not only claims God at the center but exhibits it in our actions and words.

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