Yesterday I shared a recent encouragement I had received from the Lord through His encouragement of Abram in 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." One more thought…
As I shared yesterday, it may have been that Abram was fearful regarding his enemies’ potential revenge for the great victory he had just gained over them that provoked the Lord to encourage him so. Or, it may have been he was having "second thoughts" about not accepting the king of Sodom's offer of all his goods as a reward for delivering him and his people from their enemies. I believe both of these were distinct possibilities. However, there was yet another weakness in Abram that the Lord needed to address which was more serious than either of these fears. Abram was harboring doubt in his heart regarding the Lord’s ability to fulfill His covenant promise!
“And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?” Genesis 15:2
Abram looked at his circumstances (age, childlessness, etc.), and they “told” him that it was “impossible” for the Lord to do through him what He had promised. But the Lord, who is “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending” (Rev 1:8) and “knoweth all things” (1John 3:20), saw Abram’s doubt before he even expressed it. Thus in verse one He gave the encouragement needed to assuage the fear expressed in verse 2.
We must always remember that God is never “behind.” Rather, He is always working “his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself” (Eph 1:9). We must always remember as did the Psalmist that God “knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off” (Psalm 139:2). And though things seem difficult, even “impossible,” we must always trust our Lord’s times and ways, for “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right” (Genesis 18:25b), “for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27b).
Even in Abram’s doubting, we find a great encouragement for, despite his personal weakness at the time, the Lord’s faithfulness was not deterred nor diminished one bit. You see, the covenant promises did not depend on Abram’s faithfulness, but the Lord’s. So it is with us.
“If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)
It is because of God’s faithfulness that “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28). It is because of our Savior’s faithfulness that “we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Heb 13:7). It is because of God’s grace that we “can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth [us]” (Phil 4:13).
Was Abram fearful, doubting God? Yes, when he leaned on his own understanding. And so are you and I. But was God’s grace limited, His ability thwarted, or the accomplishment of His perfect eternal will frustrated? No. Nor will it be in the lives of His children.
God’s perfect will WILL ultimately be done. In that, God WILL receive ALL the glory He so rightfully deserves (Rev 4:11). What is in doubt, then, is not the Lord’s faithfulness or ability, but our willingness to trust Him at all times, especially when difficulties present themselves. In other words, it is not the faith that He has gifted to all believers which saves them that is in question (Eph 2:8). That perfect faith will never fail, thus our eternal security. No, what is in question is not His faith, but ours.
God has saved us by His sovereign grace, but He has given us a free will. Our blessing and peace depend on how we exercise it, i.e., how we walk in “the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). So let me challenge you today to consider the choice(s) before you:
Will you enjoy the riches of God's grace and power throughout your pilgrim’s journey here on earth by faith, or will you live in the uncertainty of your own ability with the attendant doubt and fear?
Will you walk by faith or sight, by your own human understanding or according to His “beyond man’s comprehension” promises?
Most importantly, will you contribute to the manifestation of God’s glory through a Christ-centered, obedient walk which He can richly bless, or will He receive His glory in spite of you because your doubts and fears prevent you from enjoying daily the full blessing of Christ's victory over sin on your behalf?
It’s your choice, Christian. Choose to live by faith. Choose "the unspeakable riches of Christ" (Eph 3:8). Choose Him.
“Fear not, [Christian]: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”
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