Gen 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
After these things, what things? This came right after the war and the resulting battle between Abraham, his followers, and these evil kings. Perhaps he was regretting turning down the King of Sodom and God might be letting him know here that he did make the right choice.
I am convinced more and more that we are in almost the very same situation that Abraham and his future descendants were in. We are in an age where great faith is needed and will undoubtedly be tested in various ways and for various degrees with each believer. Although faith has always been tested and stretched by God in order to make us grow because, to be honest, we are generally lazy mortals who usually need a little prodding and pushing in order to grow because we usually get comfortable and adjust well to just about anything that comes our way. We mope and whine about our circumstances and how God doesn’t love us, or we ask what we must have done to make Him mad at us, or whether we made a bad choice and now we are paying for it.
Then we either get bitter and walk away and faith dies in us or we get better and we grow from the experience and we move on with what God is doing and we find that He has something wonderful planned for us that would require such rigorous training. Training that only our present trouble could provide.
I once heard a fiend say “We, as believers, are either in the middle of trouble, getting out of trouble, or fixing to get into trouble”. Trouble is and will always be around us and this is by far the only way that faith can be allowed to grow when God is dealing with us because it is the only way we learn and train. He brews also tells us that this is the only way to properly please God and then we must look at troubles in a different light than we once did.
We are in the midst of what seems and feels like an economy and community, here in America that is about to either change significantly or crumble into non- existence, but that is what could possibly be just paranoia on our part. You see, we really have always had it pretty good here, especially religiously but I do believe that it will all change someday for the worse. I am not sure if our generation will see it but only God knows that.
In Hebrews we have what has always been called “The Hall of faith.” One good reading from it would actually stop a lot of the whining and complaining, especially for those who have had it as well as I have. I know this for a fact because I read it today.
I say to my shame that I have complained, murmured, whined, and cried about some really useless things to God. I have pouted and griped because my work environment has changed, I have lost wages, lost study time, and I have had to redo everything.
But I have also had to rethink everything, and I do mean everything.
“What did I do/not do?” was the standard cry to God.
“How did I sin?”, “Why are you chastising me so much?” was the cry heard from my lips.
“Where is my reward for being a good little boy?”
God had abandoned me. God had given up on me. God had let me down. You see He had not done what He said He would do.
The truth is He had not done what I thought He was supposed to do and how I love Him so much that He still blesses stupid!!!
You see, when I read the next few verses, I see where I have no reason, nor room to complain or whine at my circumstances.
Heb 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
Heb 11:33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
Heb 11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
Heb 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
Heb 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
Heb 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
Heb 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
Heb 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
Heb 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Another friend made the following comment the other day regarding faith
“I was talking with a friend this morning and was saying that we have always been
told…”anything worth having is worth working for”. Sounds good and makes a lot
of sense. That is until it comes to the gift of salvation. It is so worth having, but
we can’t work for it. He then said no we can’t, but when times get tough and
you face a struggle, having and maintaining your faith then becomes work. How
easy is it for us to give up and blame God for the things happening around us. “
So now the passage from James has a whole new meaning
James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
It takes work for faith to stay and grow and that is exactly where God wants us
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
He has caused me to re-think everything. My relationship with Him as my Father, my family, the Lordship of Jesus Christ in my life, salvation, church, and life in general. I am still in the wilderness, learning how to be a nobody who can be used by God, and I am not there yet but I have faith and that is all that matters. God is my shield, He has been and will protect me and my family regardless of what comes our way and He is my reward. He has supplied Himself as my reward for the future. The things that I have yet to see