Genesis 15 - Thy Exceeding Great Reward
Genesis 14:21-24 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
Genesis 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.
Abram had just come back from a battle where he had risked his life to rescue his nephew, Lot, but God had kept him safe. Then he met the king of Sodom and was faced with a choice - the choice to take some of the spoil of the battle. Before he could choose, Melchizedek (a type of Christ) came out and met him, and encouraged him in his walk with the Lord by blessing him. His faith was strengthened and he thereafter chose not to take any of the spoils, lest the king of Sodom should say, I have made Abram rich.
Perhaps Abram was tempted by the riches or was wondering about the possibilities that the battle might not have fared so well for him - maybe those riches could have given him a sense of security after all, but he rejected them because of their source. After he made his choice, the word of the Lord came to him - reminding him of where his trust and contentment should be. He need not fear man, nor even the snares and pitfalls of those riches (or lack thereof), for God would be his shield and exceeding great reward.
I believe these words to Abram are also quite applicable to all God's children: "Fear not, My child, I am your shield too, and your exceeding great reward. As long as you are walking in right fellowship with me, you need not fear anything this world has in store - for I will protect you and provide for you."
The Lord God did not promise to give a reward to Abram - He promised to be Abram's reward! If we have the Lord Jesus Christ, we have everything we will ever need - in this life, and in eternity.
For the sake of this study, I have simply chosen to focus on the verses that specifically refer to God being our reward, portion, inheritance, possession - and ones where we are His. There are many other verses that refer to the land of Israel, Jerusalem, etc. being the inheritance of His people (ie. the Israelites, His people in the Old Testament), but I wanted to think about the Lord Himself as our inheritance.
1. Our Inheritance Is The Lord
a) The Levites - They were not given an allotment of land, because they were directly promised an inheritance in the Lord Himself. It is interesting to note that this inheritance included having all their needs met as they served the Lord. They were the ones who received the benefits of the tithe and the firstfruits that were brought to the temple, plus received the meat and the skins from the animals that were sacrificed - as they served the Lord Himself, everything else they needed in life (food, clothing, provision, etc.) was met by Him. This inheritance of the Old Testament priesthood pictures our inheritance in Christ as New Testament believers - we are priests to God (see 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6). When we have the Saviour, we have all else we need in this life. Take the world, but give us Jesus!
Numbers 26:62 And those that were numbered of them were twenty and three thousand, all males from a month old and upward: for they were not numbered among the children of Israel, because there was no inheritance given them among the children of Israel.
Deuteronomy 10:8-9 At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day. Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the LORD is his inheritance, according as the LORD thy God promised him.
Deuteronomy 18:2 Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the LORD is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them.
Joshua 13:33 But unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not any inheritance: the LORD God of Israel was their inheritance, as he said unto them.
Here we see that even in the Millenial kingdom, the Levites' inheritance will still be the Lord:
Ezekiel 44:28 And it shall be unto them for an inheritance: I am their inheritance: and ye shall give them no possession in Israel: I am their possession.
b) God's People - It is the Lord Himself that believers are to look forward to, that we are to take delight in. We are not to run after worldly possessions, but to seek the Lord Himself, and to find our all in Him. When you have the Creator of the universe, who owns the cattle upon a thousand hills - everything you see is His - then what more do you need? Seek your Heavenly Father first and His righteousness, and all that you need is yours in Him. (See Matthew 6:33)
Psalms 16:5-6 The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.
Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines portion as "The part of an estate given to a child or heir, or descending to him by law, and distributed to him in the settlement of the estate." The Lord God Himself is the portion that believers will inherit, both in this life and in the life to come (ie. Heaven).
Psalms 73:25-26 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
Psalms 119:57 Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.
Psalms 142:4-5 I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.
When all else and everyone else fails you, there is still a refuge and a portion found in the Lord your God. He cares for you like no one else does!
Jeremiah 10:16 The portion of Jacob is not like them: for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: The LORD of hosts is his name.
Lamentations 3:24-26 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
The Lord is our refuge, our hope, our strength - all that we need is found in Him. And all that we are in need of will be provided by Him as we walk in faithfulness with Him.
2 Corinthians 6:10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
1 Corinthians 3:21-23 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.
In the Lord Jesus Christ, we have an inheritance that will last forever - our inheritance is Him. Since He is the Inheritor of all things, we are co-heirs with Him.
Hebrews 1:1-3 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Romans 8:15-17 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Romans 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
Obadiah 1:17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.
I love this verse. God is faithful to keep all His promises:
1 Kings 8:56 Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.
That means He will also keep His promise to be our all in all in this life. Just as the Lord kept His promises to the nation of Israel, so too will He keep His promises to all true believers.
All the promises of God are fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
We will possess all that we are promised in Christ - including having a part in Himself. Jesus is not just the Saviour of Israel, He is our Saviour, our inheritance, our portion - He is ours!
And we are His - for all eternity!
2. The Lord's Inheritance Is His People
Exodus 34:9 And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.
Moses' prayer was for the Lord not to cast off His people because of their sin and rebellion, but rather to forgive them and take them as His inheritance.
Deuteronomy 9:26 I prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
Deuteronomy 9:29 Yet they are thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm.
Deuteronomy 32:9 For the LORD'S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.
Just as He is our portion in this life, so too are we His! He is to be our delight, our Sufficiency, our All - and we are His delight.
1 Kings 8:51-53 For they be thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron: That thine eyes may be open unto the supplication of thy servant, and unto the supplication of thy people Israel, to hearken unto them in all that they call for unto thee. For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD.
Psalms 2:8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Praise the Lord that the Father gave the whole world to the Son! That means that even us Gentiles can have a part in the Saviour. He is not just the Saviour of the Jews, but of all who will trust Him alone by faith. Have you trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ to save you from your sins? Then He is yours, and you are His!
Psalms 28:9 Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.
The Lord has promised to meet the needs of His people, to deliver them in their time of need. As our Shepherd, He has promised to give us our daily bread, as well as to feed us spiritually. Have you feasted on the green pastures of His Word today?
Psalms 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
Psalms 74:1-2 O God, why hast thou cast us off for ever? why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture? Remember thy congregation, which thou hast purchased of old; the rod of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein thou hast dwelt.
Jesus Christ shed His precious blood to redeem your soul. If you have received Him by faith, He will never cast you off, He will never leave you, nor forsake you - despite what your circumstances may look like. He may be allowing a test where His presence is not seen or felt in your life - but He is still there. We can have that daily assurance as we walk by faith, and not by sight.
Psalms 78:71 From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.
Psalms 94:14 For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.
Isaiah 19:23-25 In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.
The Lord will not forget His people, will not disregard the work of His hands, will not forget about His inheritance. While this passage is referring to specific nations during His millenial reign, we can have this assurance by faith that the Lord will still bless the work of His hands today, will still take delight in His people, will still rejoice in His inheritance.
Zechariah 2:12 And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.
Even so, the Lord Jesus Christ will inherit those born again believers who have placed their faith in Him, will inherit those New Testament believers He has died to redeem.
Is the Lord your reward? Is He your portion in this life? Have you found your all in Him? Do you take delight in having Him as your inheritance?
If so, take comfort in the fact that you are His portion as well!
I am... thy exceeding great reward!
For more studies based on Genesis 15:1:
Genesis 15 - Fear Not - Part One
Genesis 15 - Fear Not - Part Two
Genesis 15 - Fear Not - Part Three
Genesis 15 - Fear Not - Part Four
Genesis 15 - Thy Shield
For more studies in Genesis (with Genesis as the springboard):