The Book of Genesis
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note: all scripture is from the NKJV unless noted otherwise
Ø Gen 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward."
After these things, after what things?
Well, first Abram had to go save his nephew Lot, then Melchizedek came to him and blessed him, and finally the king of Sodom came to him wanting the people that Abram just saved.
Talk about a long day. Have you ever had a day like that, where you start out with a battle and it ends with a temptation?
This is the kind of day that Abram had, but in the mist of this all, the Lord let Abram know that He was there with him.
Just as the Lord wants you to know that whatever you are going through He is there with you.
If the Lord hadn't come when He did, it is possible that Abram would have kept the spoil and given the king of Sodom the people only.
But in the mist of Abram's day, the Lord revealed Himself to Abram, and showed him that it was by His strength (God's) that Abram was able to do anything.
So after these things the Lord came to Abram in a vision telling him that He was Abram's shield or his protector. But not only that, the Lord reminded Abram that He was his reward, and not the things of the world.
People desire to be seen and recognized for the things they do. People desire a reward, of usually a cash value or some kind of physical thing.
People run races for trophies and a kiss from the presenter of the trophy.
But we as Christians have to remember that our reward is in heaven, and we shouldn't desire to receive anything here in this world. Why? Because Jesus is our shield and our strength, He is the reason we can do anything at all.
He is the reason I can even teach this study, It's not because I'm smart or have been through a lot of training and/or schooling that teaches me to teach the bible. No, it's because it's His desire for me to teach, and why? Because I'm willing!
I saw a bumper sticker on an old beat-up car that said, "Don't let the car fool you, my riches are in heaven."
I've talked with others in the ministry about how much they make, and you would be surprised at how little they do make. But if this is your calling from the Lord, then you shouldn't seek the same ministry or another ministry somewhere else for better pay. You should seek to go where the Lord wants you.
If you are doing it for the money or moving your ministry somewhere else because the pay is better, I would say that you have need to get out of the ministry your in. If you don't, then you will be drawn away from the Lord and drawn to the things of this world.
God was Abram's shield:
Shields were usually "anointed", in order to preserve them, and at the same time make the missiles of the enemy glide off them more easily.
· Isaiah 21:5 Prepare the table, Set a watchman in the tower, Eat and drink. Arise, you princes, Anoint the shield!
And what were they anointed with? Oil, and oil represents the Holy Spirit.
· Prov 30:5 Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
And whom do we trust? Those who are truthful.
· John 14:16-17 16 "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-- 17 "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
Jesus is our great reward. Here are some other verses speaking of rewards:
· Matt 16:26-27 26 "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
· 1 Cor 3:8-9 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building.
· 2 Cor 9:6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
· Rev 22:12-15 12 "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last." 14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
These are rewards the world calls foolishness, because it's something they can't see or have right now.
We have lost our patience so much that we want to be rewarded now for the things we do for the Lord now here on this earth?
We seem to forget that without the Lord we can do nothing.
But still we want it, because "we did it".
It would be like people wanting to get paid for receiving the mail everyday, it sounds crazy but that's what we do with the Lord.
He delivers, we receive, and we want to be paid for His work.
But Abram knew better. When the king of Sodom came to him, he knew that God was his great reward and Abram wanted nothing because it was all the Lords doing.
Ø Gen 15:2-3 2 But Abram said, "Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" 3 Then Abram said, "Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!"
Or in the NLT it reads.
· Gen 15:2-3 (NLT) 2 But Abram replied, "O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don't even have a son? Since I don't have a son, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. 3 You have given me no children, so one of my servants will have to be my heir."
This is the first mention of Eliezer, We don't know who he was, but he must have been an important person if Abram would consider him as taking over when he died.
Also as I read this, it's possible that Abram is reminding God of His promise to him.
· Gen 13:14-16 14 And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: "Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are--northward, southward, eastward, and westward; 15 "for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. 16 "And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.
But God answers Abram.
Ø Gen 15:4-6 4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir." 5 Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." 6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
God's promises. You can buy books with God's promises already picked out for you.
And we are told to stand on those promises. Now this is not a bad thing to do, but notice that Abram didn't just come out and say, "God where is my promise of a son, You said I would have one and your not sticking to your promise."
No, Abram Listened to God's promise in Genesis 13:14-16 and kept it at that. He didn't go around claiming God's promise to Him, he just believed.
Abram was not treating God like a Santa Claus desiring for God to give at his (Abram's) will.
No, rather Abram wanted God to give as He (God) wills and Abram knew that God's will was to multiply his descendants.
We spend so much time asking from God for our own pleasure, but how much time do we just spend with the Lord?
· Matt 6:33-34 33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
God, give me a wife or husband. God fix my marriage. God, I need a new job. God, I need a new car. God, give me…?
What is on your Christmas list for God?
When we continually ask we do the opposite of Matthew 6:33-34. We seek these things first, then the kingdom of God.
As you read through the bible you will notice a lot of people that are blessed with worldly possessions and they are blessed because they seek the Lord and not the things of this world.
What are you seeking from the Lord to fix or give you?
Is this so important that you are willing to allow it to come first in your life and not God?
· Matt 7:7-8 7"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
We use this verse to get what we want or grounds to ask our desire and not Gods will.
But before Jesus spoke these words, He speaks the next words.
· Matt 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
So looking at this we don't ask, or seek or knock for our own pleasure.
Instead may our prayer be.
"Father I ask that You may be glorified, I seek that your will be done, and I knock on the doors you send me too and want me to knock on."
God promised Abram that He would be his blessing or great reward. And Abram was not mocking God or arguing with God about what he didn't have.
No, Abram was saying, "Yes God you are my great reward and through me all nations will be blessed, but how Lord since I am childless. Will it be through one of my servants?"
And at the end God accounted it to Abram as righteousness.
Don't you desire to be righteous in God's eyes, or maybe to be excepted by God?
Here is the answer to your righteousness and acceptance by God, Believe!
That's all you have to do, just believe.
· Mark 1:14-15 14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."
· Mark 9:23-24 23 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"
Sometimes we believe but we think our faith is too weak. If you do, cry out to God and ask Him to help you with your unbelief.
· Mark 11:24 24 "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
Believe in what God wants you to have, not what you think you need.
· Mark 16:14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.
Jesus rebuked His disciples because of their unbelief, and why?
· Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The disciples could not see so they didn't believe, but they should have, and why?
· Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
They had the word of God spoken to them by Jesus, so were they just listening or hearing Jesus speak?
When you sit in church or read this study, are you listening to someone talk or just reading words. Or are you hearing God speak to you?
2 Cor 9:6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.