Fear Not, Abram, I Am Your Shield | Genesis 15:1

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.”

Genesis 15:1 ESV

This is an interesting follow up to Abram’s militant exploits of the previous chapter. After coming into a decisive and miraculous victory from the hand of God, we would expect to see Abram exceedingly glad and rejoicing in the LORD, yet this is not the case. From a vision, God tells Abram not to be afraid. We can presume that God would only tell Abram this if Abram was actually feeling fearful.

The phrase “after these things” directly ties the present chapter with the former, so we have a good understanding of Abram’s circumstances. Perhaps Abram was considering the enemies that he made within chapter 14. He chases Chedorlaomer and his followers quite a distance; however, nothing prevented them from returning to enact vengeance upon Abram. Maybe Abram thought he made an enemy of the king of Sodom by declining his offer. Either way, it seems to me that Abram’s fearfulness likely resulted from being exhausted. In the events of chapter 14, Abram traveled great distances, and we can only imagine how long his campaign lasted. Exhaustion has a way of bringing to the surface all of our deepest fears.

It could be easy for us to read about Abram’s fears and wonder why the man of faith was so afraid. After all, if faith is trusting God, should a follower of God ever truly be afraid? Does not such fear indicate a lack of faith?

The simple answer, I would posit, is yes.

However, life is never simple.

Throughout the Bible, God or His messengers proclaim the same refrain to God’s servants: fear not. In fact, people have written numerous books about the over three hundred moments throughout the Bible of God instructing not to fear, worry, or be anxious. The logical conclusion, after knowing how frequently the Bible discusses the subject, is that fear, worry, anxiety, and exhaustion are all common to the human condition. While it may not be welcome or wanted, it is only natural for us to become afraid and weary. We are fallible and feeble creatures. We do not always see the reality of God’s sovereignty. We lose sight of God’s greatness, and we fear.

God would be completely justified in disavowing Abram right here. Abram’s fear shows a lack of faith, and God could respond by finding another person through whom the promises would be fulfilled. However, God does none of that; rather, God speaks to Abram with grace, gentleness, and love. If Abram was afraid of Chedorlaomer returning to exact vengeance upon him, God promises to be his shield. If Abram was still concerned about the treasure that he refused from the king of Sodom, God reassures that his reward will be very great.

This is how God responds to us as well. Too often, we become like Abram, questioning and doubting God and His promises, but God responds to us with love and grace. In a few verses, God would tell Abram to count the stars as picture of his innumerable offspring still to come.

Today, the LORD calls us to look back upon His faithfulness in the lives of men like Abraham (see Hebrews 11), but most importantly, He calls to look at Jesus. How can we consider our crucified Savior and not see that He is also our shield and very great reward? Did He not suffering under God’s wrath in order to shield us from our justly deserved punishment for sin? Did He also not die and rise back to life in order to restore us to communion with the Father? If Christ has shielded us from God’s wrath against our sins and given us the reward of restored fellowship with God, why should we fear the passing circumstances of today?

Christian, consider Jesus today, count His manifold showers of grace upon you, and fear not what the day may bring.


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