After Abraham’s meetings with Melchizedek and the King of Sodom, the Lord speaks to him in a vision and says, “Don’t be afraid, Abram. I am your Shield and your exceeding great Reward.” What comforting words these must have been! I am your Shield, the Lord tells him, I will protect you. As we saw before, Abraham had defeated a much larger army under the leadership of Chedorlaomer and chased them all the way to Hobah, near Damascus. The possibility must have entered his mind that this army could very well regroup and return for retribution against him and his small militia. But the Lord confirms to Abraham that He Himself is a Shield for him and will protect him.
God also reinforces to Abraham that He is his “exceeding great Reward.” Abraham has been offered vast wealth and riches from the hand of the King of Sodom and he has declined to accept even a shoestring from him (Genesis 14:23). I wonder how many who witnessed Abraham’s refusal of this offer that day thought to themselves, “How foolish!” Those who went with him into battle accepted payment for their part (v. 24), what did they think about Abraham telling the king, “No.” Along with the murmuring within the camp that must have been going on, Abraham’s own flesh must certainly have put some doubt in his mind as to whether or not he had made the right decision. We know that he had to be having some anxiety about the possibility of being attacked and about whether he had made the right choice in turning down the King of Sodom. When God tells someone Fear not, you can be sure that this is not merely a formality! That person is feeling fear.
If I may paraphrase what God is saying to Abraham here, He tells him: “I know that you’re worried and afraid, Abram, but you do not need to be. When you were fighting in battle, I was right there with you, protecting you. I will do it again if necessary. You did the right thing by turning down the King of Sodom’s offer, it was not what I wanted for you. But you haven’t lost anything: I am your Reward, a Reward that is far greater than all the riches of this world!” What Abraham is literally being told is that God Himself is his payment, his compensation. Not that God will provide the reward, He is the Reward! And His worth is “greatly multiplied” beyond that which the King of Sodom had offered.
God’s words to Abraham at this time are the most intimate that we have seen thus far. The Word of the Lord came unto Abram, as surely as it does to all who love Him. The Lord calls him by name here saying, “Fear not, Abram…” What a comforting reassurance that we belong to Him when He calls each of us by name (John 10:3). And what God declares that Abraham now has is of greater worth than anything else He will ever give him: Himself. Beyond all of the manifold blessings that God will give unto him throughout his life, this is the greatest. God Himself is His Reward.
“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1-2)
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is so often being presented today as something that will enhance a person’s life. Serving God is portrayed as a means to an end with the Christian’s focus being on the gifts he hopes to receive from the Lord rather than on the Lord Himself. Seeking to know what is in the heart of God has been replaced with a desire to receive what He holds in His hand. Our only purpose for fellowship with the Lord is that we might make known to Him our needs and requests; our prayer and communion with Him being no more than the vehicles and instruments whereby we seek to procure the material. But the day will come when we step from this life into the next and all of the material blessings are gone, no more of the worldly wealth remains, and all of our possessions are left behind. Our most precious possession that we will have in that day will be being in the presence of our dear Savior… just as it should be now.