Genesis 15: God, Our Reward

“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.’” (Genesis 15:1)

In Genesis 15, we find God once more affirming His relationship with the great patriarch Abram. Perhaps this was a confirmation for the great faith Abram exhibited in chapter 14 by trusting in God more than riches. Perhaps Abram was at a low point in life and needed assurance. Regardless, God promised, “I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”

Abram’s response is interesting. “Lord God, what will you give me, seeing that I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”

Think about that for a minute. God said He would be Abram’s reward… but Abram asked what would be his reward. Do you see the disconnect? It is almost like Abram wasn’t listening to God. The great Creator wanted this lowly man to know that He—God!—was giving Himself to Abram—His presence, His blessings, His attention… everything! But, Abram was only focused on an heir. The wealth of the universe was laid before Him in God, and yet he was only thinking about a temporary, albeit important, trinket.

God, of course, was patient with Abram. Abram needed to grow. He needed to learn that God was all he needed in life—even more than he needed an heir. So, God assured him he would indeed have an heir from his “own body” and that his descendants would be numerous (v. 5). But, importantly, all these would come from God. We are then told that Abram believed, and “He accounted it to him for righteousness” (v. 6).

Did Abram get it? No, but God was long-suffering anyway, and with good reason. Later, in chapter 22, after having been given an heir, he would be willing to give up that heir—the thing he wanted most in chapter 15— because he grew to understand he had God and all his blessings.

How often do we do the same thing as Abram? As Christians, the God of the universe has looked upon us and given Himself for us through His Son, Jesus Christ. He is our reward as well. He has blessed us with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3), given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3), forgiven us, provided for us, instructed us, brought us into His family (1 John 3:1) and promised us a home in heaven one day! Yet, what do we still do? We are still asking for lesser things—our own “heir.” It may be stuff, money, health, a spouse, children, fame or a host of other things. Mind you, some of these things are wonderful, and rightly to be desired (such as a spouse, children, health, etc.), but compared to having God as our reward and all that goes along with it, they are still lesser. Our greatest joy comes when we see Him and He alone as enough to satisfy us in our lives. And the test of that is when we, like Abram, are willing to live without our “heirs” as long as we have God.

Let’s apply this to our lives.