Friday, January 7, 2011

And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

When I was reading Genesis 15 this morning in my devotions my heart suddenly got tense in my chest (and no, this was not because of my heart problem). I was reading familiar words, things I had read over and over again:

"After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: 'Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.' But Abram said, 'O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?' And Abram said, 'Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.' And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: 'This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.' And he brought him outside and said, 'Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.' Then he said to him, 'So shall your offspring be.' And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness."     -Genesis 15:1-6
The first part of the passage that struck me was "I am your shield."
Praise the Lord, He is my shield. After Abram rejects the rewards from battle (ch.14), God promises that Abram's reward shall come from HIM. That he need not seek an outside source, because God is His shield.

At this point in reading, my chest felt very tight, overwhelmed with the sense of hope and peace, and I continued on.
I noticed something: Abram shows disappointment to the Lord, in his own way. "What will you give me, for I continue childless?" - Abram desires a child, an heir, and yet feels hopeless. Even when feeling hopeless, he accepts this "defeat" by saying "You have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir."

Here I take a deep breath. Abram has just laid it all on the table. This is the "Where is my [dream job, first child, husband, wife, friend, church body, etc] that I so strongly desire?" I usually shy away from this, because I do not want to seem that I am elevating "gifts above the Giver." I do not want to offend my Lord, or grieve the Spirit. So I don't say it, I don't ask.

 Yet God wants to give Abram his desire! His reward shall be great, and that reward is not just communion with God. I most often tend to view my reward as that - nothing that I desire earthly, only Christ. And this reward DOES far exceed all others, but that is not what God promises him. He promises Abram an heir, something that Abram truly wants in this life.

What would God give us if we laid it all on the table? 

God does not necessarily forsake our desires when we truly seek Him. I am NOT talking prosperity gospel heresy - I'm talking glorifying God through enjoyment of HIS gifts.

But it doesn't stop there. The promise comes, and Abram could have turned his back; he could have given up and thrown away the promise, saying, "Well, I don't think that will happen, but that's okay because I have the Lord and He is enough." No. He believed God's promise.
And it was counted to him as righteousness.

What do I desire? Peace, joy, hope, to grow in Christ, to see the fruit of the Spirit in my life.
What is God's promise to me? There are many.... I am not sure about rewards for desires that I have, but I know the rewards that I see promised in scripture. I know that the Holy Spirit that I so strongly desire will come. I know that the resource that I have in Christ of peace, joy, and hope will come. I know these promises will come. I know He will complete His good work in me. I know this, because He has promised it. And I believe it. With my entire heart.

What else is God promising, what other rewards? Maybe He wants me to trust and wait to see.

"We don’t always know what God is doing. We live by faith, not by sight. We get some of our questions answered in this life but the Bible teaches elsewhere that we know in what? Part. We see? Dimly. One day when we’re with Jesus on the other side of resurrection all the questions will be answered. We’ll see it all clearly. We’ll know it all fully. Until then, we live by faith, not by sight. God doesn’t give us answers to all of our questions. He gives us Jesus. Someone who has suffered and died and risen to take away our sin, give us new life, and get us to the kingdom where it all makes sense. "- Mark Driscoll


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