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Thy Exceeding Great Reward

December 1, 2006

Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. Genesis 15:1

In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion. Psalm 71

The Lord came to Abraham in a vision, and later, in the form of a man. Abraham did not have the Scriptures, but it was given him to talk with God directly. The doctrines of grace were not yet in print, but were known to those who had a relationship of faith with God.

Jesus testified of John the Baptist,

For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. Luke 7:28

John foretold the presence of the kingdom, but he did not live to see it fulfilled in Christ’s resurrection. He possessed and knew the Scriptures: the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms. He preached the gospel, but he did not have the whole story.

God hasn’t gone anywhere and he hasn’t changed. We have his word but probably no rational Christian expects to encounter him in a vision or as a man. I sometimes reflect on God’s provision of the Bible as a miraculous providence. I reflect on how God is my shield and my exceeding great reward, just as he is Abraham’s. As unimaginably wonderful as it must have been to encounter Jehovah face to face, I can only be grateful that I can encounter him in the Bible. Of course, he would have commanded my steadfast attention in person; I am often guilty of unfocused attention left on my own with my Bible.

Each day presents its battles, or as one friend puts it, “horseflies.” God disarms my resistance to facing my little battles with his assurance that he is indeed my shield. When I read his word, or hear it preached, or take pleasure in the fellowship of my brethren, or am given to feel gratitude for my portion, I enjoy my exceeding great reward. I know anything this side of hell is mercy. And my exceeding great reward is the exceeding mercy of my portion.

Pastor Tom Lyon’s sermon on glory from Romans 8:30 last Lord’s day brought to remembrance that Christ prayed for his church to receive all the blessings he himself enjoyed. Throughout John 17, Christ asks the Father to give to his own the knowledge of the true God, that they would have Christ’s joy fulfilled in themselves. He asked that they would be sanctified through the word of God, for God’s word is truth. And he bequeathed to them his glory, that they would be made perfect in one. He prayed not only for his disciples, but for them also who would believe on him through their word. We who believe are those who have believed on him through their word. Christ secured for his church all the blessings of his own glory.

Whatever glory is, it is what Christ is, and it is Christ’s to give, and we shall receive it, and we shall be as he is.

I pray this will not invite me to vain imaginings but to fullness of the blessed hope.

1 comments:

Victorbravo said…
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one. John 17:22.In our present infirmity, we can’t even imagine what this is, but in faith we praise God for the promise.

I think we see the balance between simple faith and the steadfast work of attending to our reading and hearing of the Word of God. And, as you point out, God equips his people with the means to do that.

10:18 AM  
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