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.’ – Genesis 15:1
Because there are so many great insights in chapter 15, I am breaking this chapter into two or three sections/posts.
It’s easy to gloss over Genesis 15:1. But a deeper inspection reveals many great firsts in Scripture. This is the first time the words “vision”, “shield”, and “reward” are used. More importantly, this is the first of the great “I am’s” mentioned. God’s very name is: “I am that I am” (Exodus 3:14). Christ began many of His words with “I am”:
- the light of the world
- the way, truth and life
- the door
- the Alpha and Omega
- the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star
This is also the first time “word” is used. It is significant that this first occurrence of “word” conveys God’s message to man—not man’s message—and communicates a huge claim and promise to Abram.
God considers His word so important that He values it over His name (Psalm 138:2).
Henry Morris (The Genesis Record) writes: “The concept of the Word of God includes both the written Word, Holy Scripture, and the living Word, God the Second Person [Jesus]. . . . He is the sum of all that can be communicated. [His title] “Alpha and Omega” are, of course, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, the language chosen by God in which to inscripturate His new covenant with man. This proclamation seals the oneness of the written and living Words.”
Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
God had just given Abram victory over the eastern kings. So why was he afraid? Like everyone else, Abram fought fear. Maybe he was exhausted and feared the wrath of the kings he just defeated. Or—as verse two implies—maybe he feared that his servant, Eliezer, would inherit his estate since he was childless.
Whatever the root of Abram’s anxiety, God knew, just as He knows our fears.
I love how God encouraged and comforted Abram with a familiar hands-on tool. The Old Testament warrior’s primary defensive weapon was the shield. This mobile fort protected the soldier’s flesh from the enemy’s blade.
Not only would God be Abram’s great reward, He would also be his defender.
When fear knocks on our doors, remember: God is the great “I am”. Not only is He near, but He is also bigger than the sum of all our fears.
I like Morris’ commentary: “For the believer, Christ is both protection from all harm and provision of all needs. He provides our ‘shield of faith’ (Eph. 6:16)—indeed the “whole armor of God,” so that we can be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might (Eph. 6:10-11). He is also our ‘exceeding great [literally abundant] reward. . . . He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us’ (Eph. 3:20).”