Blessings Come From Obedience

The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, ‘I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’ Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.”—Genesis 22:15–19 (NIV)
God blesses and rewards faith, faithfulness, and obedience. That is a true statement that can never be refuted or disputed. It is not a prosperity statement, either. This isn’t a message of works or legalism. It’s a simple fact, and anyone who tries to tell you differently doesn’t know the Lord and doesn’t understand what blessings and rewards are—or has a specific criteria or expectation for what constitutes blessing and reward that doesn’t line up with God’s definition. 
Today’s passage wraps up the Akedah story ("The Binding of Isaac”). Here, we see the angel of the Lord—who many scholars believe is a Christophany, an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ—reaffirm the promises the Lord had made to Abraham because of his faith and obedience. He declares some truly amazing blessings over Abraham’s family, from a great number of descendants to the possession of the land to the Messianic promise that God will bless all the nations through Abraham’s Seed. 
Here’s the thing I want you to see about this moment, this affirmation of promise and blessing because of Abraham’s faith and obedience: All of these blessings and rewards would not be enjoyed by Abraham during his lifetime. Think about that for a minute . . . Abraham didn’t get to see his descendants outnumber the stars and sand. Abraham didn’t get to take possession of the Promised Land. Abraham was long gone by the time Jesus blessed all the nations on earth. What does that tell us about blessing and reward? It isn’t always going to come in the way the world defines these terms—and they won’t all come during our earthly lifetime! 
For the most part, the world defines these ideas as possessions, money, status, power, and fame. It’s a whole lotta superficial and fleeting stuff, things that fade, things that, as Jesus said, “moth and rust destroy” and “thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19 ESV). 
But think about Abraham . . . He didn’t “experience” his rewards or blessings, but I can guarantee you he enjoyed them. He understood that spiritual blessings, that rewards in heaven, that one’s legacy of faith, and the amazing expectation of future glory in the presence of Christ far outweighs anything we can enjoy here and now. He was storing up treasures in heaven and experiencing the spiritual blessings that come from intimacy and closeness to God in the here and now. I pray that we may all adjust our view of blessing and reward. 
DIG: Why did the angel of the Lord reaffirm these promises to Abraham?
DISCOVER: Why is it important that Abraham didn’t get to “enjoy” these blessings and rewards in the way the world defines it?
DO: Ephesians 1:3 (NLT) says, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.” Think about your life and all the blessings the Lord has lavished you with, both material, spiritual, and expectant blessings that await us in heaven. Dive deep into your life and see blessings that are often overlooked and taken for granted, and praise the Lord with excited expectation for the future glory you will experience and enjoy for eternity when you see Him face-to-face.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at 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.