Genesis 15:1 Fear Not
After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
After these things is referring to the previous chapter where a great war had happened between many powerful kings. In the process Abram’s cousin Lot was taken captive. This spurred Abram to get involved. He rallied an army and went an defeated the evil king and set the captives free. When the King of Sodom and the other kings came to pay tribute to Abram, Abram gave glory to God, and took no rewards from the kings for himself, because it was God who delivered the enemy to Abram.
God now reaffirms Abram. I know, why should Abram have to worry after such a great victory and the adulation of the surrounding kingdoms? Well this undoubtedly would make the surrounding kings a bit cautious of Abram and to possibility that if Abram so decided he might take their kingdoms. After all by this time God promised to Abram, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3) I don’t know about you, but if God told me those things, I would probably tell others about it. That is some pretty exciting news.
No matter is the other kings knew why Abram had journeyed so far away from home, it was easy to see that he was a great leader of men and soldiers. He had a clear head for tactics, he was unafraid, and people from all over the region would now look to him for safety. You can see how a king would want him for an ally or would see him as a possible enemy to their own heads.
So God reassures Abram. “I am thy shield”. God lets Abram know that he is his protector. It is more than just that. The shield for a warrior is the brunt of the battle. It is close at hand. The shield absorbs impact, protects from missiles and other unforeseen dangers. Often a shield was worn on the back and allowed for protection from an attack from the rear, and allowed the warrior to concentrate on what was in front of him.
I think this is very important. God is not telling Abram that there will not be trials, or unforeseen dangers ahead. God is not telling Abram that he is going to do for Abram what Abram is called to do. Instead God is telling him to “Fear not”, because he is there with him in the battle, and he will protect him in his fight. Abram is expected to stand, fight, and have faith in the LORD.
God further encourages Abram when he says that he (the LORD) is Abram’s “exceeding great reward”. Abram can have faith in God to fulfill his promise. Abram can have confidence in God to stand by him, and see him through all of his afflictions. Even more important is the expectation of God towards Abram. Abram is encouraged that he will see the faithfulness of God in his life, and will be greatly rewarded for walking in faith. Walking in faith is something that Abram had done from the first time the LORD called him. If we take a study of Abram’s life, we will see that every success Abram had in his life is when he walked in faith. God was true to this promise to Abram. It is funny, because when most of us study the life of Abram, and the Promises of Abraham, this promise is often overlooked. This one little promise is the picture of faith in action and the expectant results.
Fear not, is what God told Abram. Fear not, I am your protector when harm is upon you. I am your protector when you see the danger, and when you do not see the danger. I am a rewarded of those who love me. Great is that reward for those who have faith in me to keep the promises I have made. I tell you of one thing. If you look at the New Testament and study the history of the saints, that some took ill. Paul had to be nursed back to health, after getting so ill he almost perished. Other saints in the New Testament and in missionary positions throughout history have fallen ill, and some have died after being exposed to diseases as they ministered for Christ.
It distresses my heart to hear those who say, “I thought you had faith…”, as if faith is what is used to keep you well. The faith we have is not to keep ourselves well. If is not even to heal others. Miracles and healing was not why Jesus came here and died, and rose again. It is not the reason we are left here after we have believed on Christ. Jesus came to save that which was lost and to disciple others to know God, and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is why we are here. You want to be like Christ? Then live for Christ, as Christ lived for his Father in Heaven. Seek those who are lost, share the Gospel of Christ, and disciple others to do the same. Fear not, the LORD is with you. The LORD is your shield. The LORD is your exceeding and great reward. We are not immune to the tragedies of this world, but we are harbingers of the hope in the next. Walk in the faith that the LORD has risen, and HE said that HE will raise us up! We do not fear death, because our lives here are already forfeit for the Kingdom of Heaven.