We have been looking at a verse God used in a special way to minister to me in India, Genesis 15:1. “After 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.’” God promises Abraham He will be his shield – that that He will provide protection and that He Himself will be the One who comes between Abraham and anything that tries to destroy him.
“I am your very great reward” is God’s second promise to Abraham. “Reward” can be translated “salary,” “payment,” “compensation,” “benefit” or “wage.” Was Abraham concerned about giving back the vast fortune he returned to the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah? Was he thinking it might have been something he needed in the future, or even in the present? That Abraham was thinking in terms of material possessions is clear from the next verse, Genesis 15:2, where he asks about an heir for his possessions and God reassures him that he will have a son. But God’s promise goes far beyond financial reward. God never promises to meet all our wants but He does promise to meet our needs (Philippians 4:19). He promises reward and blessing in the next life far beyond anything we can imagine (1 Corinthians 2:5). He also promises spiritual blessings for right now, in this life (Ephesians 1:3). It’s all by His grace, nothing we can do to earn or deserve it (John 1:16).
The assurance from God that He would reward me for this work in India is something I still can’t really grasp. I know the Bible says God will do that, but what can I possibly be rewarded for? I wouldn’t be doing this if He hadn’t really put it in my heart to do it. And clearly none of it would have happening if He wasn’t making it all happen! I tell Moses we are like a hose that He uses to send His blessings to the pastors here. What can a hose take credit for? How can a hose be rewarded? For what? For allowing itself to be used? How can it not do that? How can it get any credit for that? Please don’t think I’m being modest. If you’d be me you’d agree that none of this is any of my doing!
In fact, the privilege of being the hose, of being part of this, of having a front row set of watching God work, is more reward and blessing than I could have ever hoped for! It feels like something I should be experiencing in heaven, not on this earth. And yet the part of this verse which touched me most is still to come!
“I AM your very great reward.” The real blessing to Abraham was not just material blessings for Abraham, or even a son to inherit them – it was God Himself. He doesn’t just give us spiritual blessings now and for eternity, He Himself IS our blessing – our “very great” reward/payment/wage/benefit. Awareness of that truth was the foundation of all kinds of good things God has been teaching me these past few weeks. It is the first domino in a chain that is still continuing. God doesn’t just give me a reward or blessing, He Himself is that reward and blessing!
Usually we think of God as a means to our reward. He blesses us with the fruit of the Spirit, He heals us, He provides financially, He restores a relationship, and He shows His love in many and various tangible ways. Unfortunately some people follow Him just for the purpose of receiving those things. Their entitlement mentality has them thinking “What’s in it for me?” So they switch from church to church, waiting for the magic formula that will take away all their problems and make everything feel good. God isn’t a magic gene we can rub and get Him to do whatever we want! He has something much, much better than promising to grant us three wishes. He promises HIMSELF!
I’ve given that a lot of thought and meditation, a LOT of it. It’s an amazing thought that God is rewarding me by revealing more of Himself to me, letting me get to know Him better and more personally, experiencing Him in a fuller way! Not only is the concept great, but the fact He would do that for me is absolutely mind-expanding! He has been doing that in me – I blogged about experiencing His love and power in a much greater way and that helps me see Him in a far clearer light. I see His power in protecting us from any attacks despite all the training of pastors, especially in spiritual warfare and in how He answers prayers. I experience His love in the fact that He chose me to be the tube to be used to do this, to see how he’s been working in my life all along to bring the right training and skills into place for this time, to be a ‘missionary’ for Him, and even to write books. I have always wanted to write but had given that dream up years ago assuming it would never happen.
He wants to reveal Himself to each of us, not just me. He doesn’t just want to be part of our life, a dispenser of quick fixes when life gets too hard. He doesn’t want us to use Him, but to let Him use us. Don’t just have Jesus in your life. Let Him BE your life – not for what you get from Him but for Whom and what He is. Abraham’s great reward was not the material blessings or the son he would get, but God Himself, his growing relationship with the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. God wants that with you as well.
And, finally, He doesn’t just want to be your reward. He wants to be your VERY GREAT reward! If God says it is great, you can count on it being indescribable!
God doesn’t just want to be my reward; He wants to be that for each and every Christian as well. Think about how He has been blessing you lately. Do you recognize His hand in all that is happening in your life? What new truths have you been learning about Him? How have you been getting closer to Him lately? What is He trying to reveal to you about Himself?