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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.’”—Genesis 15:1 (NASB)
When I read Genesis 14, I’ll be honest . . . I kind of imagine Abram a little like Liam Neeson in Taken. His nephew Lot was taken (excuse the pun) and so Abram, like an action hero with a rag-tag crew, came to the rescue. And like a good action hero, he won. And then he refused to accept any reward from the king of Sodom—wise choice!
And so, by the time we get to today’s verse, Abram had just been through quite the ordeal, and in its aftermath, the Word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision. I want you to note this phrase “the word of the Lord came to . . .” It’s a phrase often used in Scripture, and this is the first instance of it. When you see that expression, know that it means that someone has just received direct and special revelation from the Lord, not in a dream as we define them. It’s believed Abram was awake and put into a sort of trance, similar to the visions Paul received when he was taken up to the third heaven (earth=first heaven, skies and space=second heaven, the heavenly realm of God=third heaven).
God tells Abram, “Do not fear.” Why would He say this? Well, as theologian Joseph Benson points out, “The patriarch had some reason to fear. The formidable allies had indeed been defeated, and the fruits of their marauding enterprise wrested from them. But they might resume their purpose, and return with an overwhelming force. And Abram was still a stranger in a foreign land, preoccupied by tribes of another race, who would combine against him as soon as they suspected him of being an intruder.”
Sounds like a logical, acceptable, completely understandable reason to be a little nervous, even for a Liam Neeson action hero type. But the Lord, always there to comfort and give us assurance, speaks to Abram and says, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you.”
What do shields do? They protect, deflect attacks, and keep us free from harm. God was assuring him that no matter how strong and numerous his enemies may appear, no matter how great the opposition that stands against, the Lord, Yahweh, the “I AM,” the self-existent, ever-present, everlasting, Alpha and Omega, almighty, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-sufficient God of the universe was His defender and protector.
And because of his faithfulness and faith in the Lord and His promises, Abram’s reward would also be very great . . . The Lord Himself would be Abram’s reward as the grace of God would be lavished on him and all those who believe in the name of Jesus!
DIG: Why did God feel the need to come to Abram in this moment?
DISCOVER: Read Galatians 3. What does it say to you about Abram’s reward?
DO: Thank the Lord today that, just as He was with Abram, He is our shield and reward, our protector and our prize!
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.