a very great reward

Abraham’s Oak, Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1905
oil on canvas, 21 3/8 x 28 5/8 in. (54.4 x 72.8 cm),
Smithsonian American Art Museum

second Sunday in Lent
Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18

“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” At this point in time Abraham’s life was troubled by anxiety and loss. God had told him 3 chapters earlier to leave everything he knew and go to a destination as yet unknown. What kind of God operates like this!?* Abraham’s response therefore seems reasonable, “Ah… Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and my current heir is one of my servants.”

Abraham’s Heavenly Father understood and appreciated Abraham’s concern and therefore responded in two ways. First, the Lord told Abraham that he would indeed have a son. Second, the Lord showed Abraham the stars, and said, “So shall your offspring be.”

Even amidst his doubts and anxieties Abraham now had two powerful visual reminders of God’s commitment to him. First, by day, he could enjoy at his homestead the great oak at Mamre. Second, by night, he could look at the stars and hope that the legacy of his life would be on a similar scale. So it turned out to be.

What the Lord said to Abraham holds equally true for us as Abraham’s children: “I am your shield and your very great reward.” Do you realize that as a believer you are protected, and that you are in covenant with a God who is bound and determined, and able, to bless you? Then take your eyes off of your light and momentary afflictions and start walking in light of the reward which is yours.

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