- How can fear interfere with faith?
- Is there anything you do presently or have done in the past that you believe may jeopardize God’s promises for you? (e.g., Is there a sin you’ve committed that you believe may be causing you to not receive God’s blessings?)
Q: In light of the above, why does God reassure Abram with the words, “I am a shield to you”?
A: God is assuring Abram that no matter how great the strength of the enemy, God’s strength is greater. God Himself will be Abram’s shield. Not only does Abram need not fear his enemy, neither does he need to fear God. God is for him, not against him.
Application: Read the last phrase of Matthew 28:20 and also Romans 8:35-39. Do you feel that God is for you or against you? Is that fear based on feeling or fact? Read on.
teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Q: What else does God tell Abram in verse one?
A: “Your reward shall be very great.” The NIV translates the verse as “I am your shield, your very great reward.” While this translation is possible, the more probable “Your reward shall be very great” is based on Abram’s response in verse 2. God surprises Abram by informing him that instead of a reprisal from Chedorlaomer, Abram can expect a reward from God. This leads to the second question about this phrase.
Q: Why does God promise a “reward” to Abram? Was it because he gave a tenth of the spoil to Melchizedek, because he conquered his enemies, or because he risked everything to win back his nephew?
A: God promises a reward to Abram—that is, something special over and above the land—because Abram was willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of his relative Lot.
When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.
Lot became a double captive. When the land was divided between Abram and Lot, “Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan” (13:11) which at that time was “well-watered everywhere” (v. 10). The principle commercial city of the area, however, Sodom, was the also the most wicked city and destined for judgment. Its lure, however, made Lot a captive to commerce and worldly values in spite of its wickedness; thus, he was a captive to the world. He became a double captive when taken by Chedorlaomer.
Figuratively, Lot represents mankind held captive to the world and eventually to the Enemy. Abraham pre-figures God’s rescue of mankind from the world and from the “snare of the devil.” (1 Timothy 3:7) Unbeknownst to Abram, he acted as God acts; rescuing the helpless from bondage.