God, your Shield


Genesis 15:1 states “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.” It is noteworthy to recognize that after the words of assurance to “fear not”, God assures Abram of his protection stating that he is his shield, on one hand, giving the reason for his words of assurance, while on the other, expressing God’s personal protection. God is saying here, that he is ‘the shield’ meaning that he is the defender. In other words, God is saying that if anyone plans to defeat Abram, they would need to go through him first.

A shield is primarily a defensive weapon, absorbing and deflecting the blows of the enemy, while secondarily functioning as a offensive weapon in a limited fashion, pushing the attacker backward. However, a shield that is not lifted up in front of the person who needs protection affords no protection whatsoever.

Points to ponder:
Often times, we seem to find ourselves defending our position and place instead of relying on God and being still, knowing that he is God (Psalm 46:10) – our shield, our defender. We are counseled to take up the shield (of faith) but here we also learn that we need to take up (raise up) Jesus Christ – THE Shield (whose name is Faithful – Revelation 19:11) by whom, we can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. Is God, your shield? Is Jesus raised up to be your defender for when he is, if anyone plans to defeat you (in any sphere of life), they would need to go through him first … and guess what, no one will be able to. Is Jesus, your shield?

Genesis 15:1 (KJV)
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.

Fear not (meaning Faith up)


Genesis 15:1 reads “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.

Why would God start his talk with Abram with the words, “Fear not”? What was Abram afraid of? Although it is extremely possible that the very visible presence of the Almighty and Sovereign God invoked in Abram a sense of trepidation, as is described by the patriarch Job (Job 23:13-16), contextually we are given clues as to the reasons why Abram might have been afraid. Abram had just returned from war victoriously and he could have feared the retaliation of the kingdoms, whose kings, Abram had slaughtered in battle (Genesis 14). It is also possible that his rejection of the offer of the king of Sodom could have had consequences, which could have made Abram afraid. While the reasons for Abram’s fear is unbeknownst to us, we know that the very first words, from the mouth of God, to Abram, before his promise of protection (shield) and provision (reward), was “Fear not”. Noteworthily, this is the first time that the phrase “Fear not” is used in the Old Testament record of the Bible.

Interestingly, this is the same phrase that is used to start God’s conversation with man, in the New Testament record of the Bible as well, for God starts out by telling Joseph (the husband of Mary) to “Fear not” (Matthew 1:20) and tells Mary herself to “Fear not” for she had found favor with the Lord (Luke 1:30).

It is important to note that it is not courage, but faith, which is the opposite of fear, as we learn from the record when Jesus calms the storm. Upon calming the storm, notice Jesus did not question, “Why are ye so fearful? Why is it that you have no courage?”, but instead questioned “Why are ye so fearful? Why is it that you have no faith?”.(Mark 4:40) Abram, who believed God in the past needed to continue to trust in him, by faith.

Points to ponder:
There are many fears that assail us – the fear of death (of losing life or a loved one), the fear of despair (of losing a job or a project), the fear of failure, the fear of rejection, the fear of commitment … and the list goes on. What God is telling us today, is “Fear not” He is our protector and provider. We need to trust in him. In other words, we need to “Faith up”. God is not looking for courage in us, but he is looking for our faith in him.

When we go through the storms of life, let it NOT be so, that Jesus should wake up and testify of us, as “Oh, ye of little or no faith”. (Matthew 8:26; Mark 4:0).

All those who have found favor with God have no reasons to fear. Those who have believed in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are adopted into God’s family, finding favor with him. Have you found favor in the Lord or do you still have reasons to fear?

Genesis 15:1 (KJV)
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.

Related Articles:
No Fear, Only Faith
The opposite of fear is …
Faith and Fear

Seeing the word of the Lord


Genesis 15:1 reads “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.” Note, the phrase “the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision”

Deeper study of this phrase reveals certain hidden treasures that are not quite so evident.

First, this implies that the voice of the Lord was not just audible but visible as well. Abram heard and saw the word of the Lord (in a vision). How is this possible? How can one see what is to be heard? How can one see the invisible? The answer to all these questions is “By faith”. Abram saw the word of the Lord with not his physical eyes, but with his spiritual eyes of faith. For it is by faith, that we can him (God) who is invisible, as we learn from the writings to the Hebrews, that Moses saw him who is invisible, by faith (Hebrews 11:27).

Second, cursorial evaluation of this phrase would suggest that the word of the Lord that came to Abram was a promise of his protection (shield) and provisions (reward) and a prophecy that unfolds as Abram dialogs with God (Genesis 15:1-21). However, by looking at a few other references in the Bible, we can deduce that “the word of the Lord” is more than articulated promise and prophecy, but a personification of the second Person of the Trinity – the pre-incarnate appearance of Christ Jesus (Theophany), in visible form, for the very first time, after the flood. If you continue reading a few more verses, in verse 5, we see that the personal pronoun, ‘he’ is used to describe the word of the Lord, as one who took Abram outside, which establishes further that the word of the Lord was a Person and not just speech. Also, later in chapter 18, we would see this again, as Abram intercedes with the Lord (Christ Jesus), for the salvation of the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:22). Jesus himself refers to the encounters that Abraham had of him, in visible nature, when he tells the unbelieving Jews that Abraham ‘saw‘ his day and rejoiced (John 8:56-58). Furthermore, the book of Revelation uses the title “The Word of God” when referring to Jesus (Revelation 19:13). So while on one hand, the word of the Lord refers to articulated promises and prophecies, on the other, it does not preclude, the personification of God himself.

Points to Ponder:
The Word of God has come to all mankind, in the Person of Jesus Christ (John 1:1), just as he came to Abram, and it is only by eyes of faith, that we can see him who is invisible. The Bible counsels us to “taste” and “see” that the Lord is good, meaning that we need to experience him who is invisible by faith, for he is good. Have you seen the word of the Lord? In other words, have you believed (by faith), in Jesus Christ, the promise keeper, who protects, provides and preserves us unto Salvation?

Genesis 15:1 (KJV)
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.
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?
And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

After these things …


Genesis 15:1 reads “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.” Note, how this verse starts with a reference to a timeframe – “After these things …” What things? The preceding chapter gives us an account of how Abram went out to rescue Lot, his nephew, and returns with the people and possession of the land that were captured by four powerful kings. He hails victoriously from the battles because the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, was with him and had delivered his enemies into his hand (Genesis 14:20). Abram takes nothing in return for his victory because of a vow that he had made to his Lord God (Genesis 14:22-23), which indicates his selfless nature – one that did not seek out for his own.

Now, after these things… the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision. It was after Abram had fought for his own (relative) and the people of the lands that were taken under captivity by their oppressors; it was after Abram had been victorious in battle.

Points to ponder:
First, when we fight for the liberty of those who are oppressed, we fight on the side of God, for the Lord is the stronghold (refuge) of the oppressed (Psalm 9:9). It is not just a battle in the flesh, but more so a battle in the Spirit. Jesus himself came in the flesh (1 John 4:2), with the Spirit of God upon him to set at liberty those who are oppressed and deliver those who are captive (Luke 4:18-19). There are many who are held in addictive bondage, and in captivity, by sin (Genesis 4:7) and when we fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12), by preaching Salvation in Christ alone, who frees all who believe, from their unrighteousness (Galatians 5:1), we can be assured that God is on our side, fighting along with us. Second, when we have momentary victory in our battles, we ought to recognize that it not out of human effort, but by the Spirit (Zechariah 4:6), that success is granted as a favor to us. This is when we need to have the word of the Lord come to us, lest we be puffed up in our pride and give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:27). Let us fight for the liberty of those enslaved in sin and under its bondage … let us wait on the Lord in our victory (when granted) … for after these things … the word of the Lord come as it came to Abram.

Genesis 15:1 (KJV)
15 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.

Luke 4:18-19 (KJV)
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

1 Timothy 6:12 (KJV)
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

Zechariah 4:6 (KJV)
Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.

Providing for his people


Abram took 318 of his trained servants, along with his allies, the three Amorite brothers, Aner, Eshcol and Mamre, to war against four kings and their armies, who had captured his nephew Lot, when they warred against Sodom and Gomorrah, where Lot lived. Abram won the war and recovered all the possessions and people that had been captured by these kings. The king of Sodom meets with Abram and asks him to return his people but keep his possession, but Abram refuses to take anything from the wicked king, except what his young men have eatern and the portion of the men and his allies, who went with him.

Points to ponder:
From this account, we can learn that Godly leaders, dont take anything for themselves, but make provisions to provide for their people. Here Abram makes arrangement for substance and sustenance for his people. Jesus, God and Leader over all, did not take anything for himself, but gave his own glory that he had with God the Father (Philippians 2:6-7), and became the one and eternal source of sustenance (giving eternal life) to all those who belong to him (his people). Do you belong to Jesus, for God provides for his people?

Genesis 14:21-24 (KJV)
21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
22 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,
23 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:
24 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.

Biblical thread


Genesis 14:23 tells us the response of Abram to the king of Sodom, when he asked Abram to return his people, but keep the goods that Abram had gotten as the spoils of war, against the four kings who had conquered Sodom and other nations. Abram said “I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest you should be able  say, I have made Abram rich:”

Though it is extremely possible that Abram would have used this phrase, “not even a thread” to literally mean that I would not take something as insignificant as a thread from the king of Sodom, other references to the word “thread” in the Bible, can teach us some lessons that are not quite so insignificant. The other instances in the Bible that refer to the word ‘thread’ are used in the context of identificationimprisonment and impressiveness. The firstborn of the twin children of Tamar (Genesis 38:28- 30) were identified using a scarlet thread. Rahab and her family was identified by the scarlet thread by which she let God’s spies escape (Joshua 2:18). Samson is described to have been imprisoned (bound) by ropes which he broke through as a frail thread (Judges 16:9,12). Finally, the lips of a women whose speech is comely is described as an impressive scarlet thread (Song of Solomon 4:3).

Abram would not accept even a thread from the king of Sodom, for doing so would have identified him as an ally of a wicked king. Abram would not accept even a thread from the king of Sodom, for doing so would have imprisoned him to be bound in gratitude for taking the goods from a wicked king. Abram would not accept even a thread from the king of Sodom, for doing so would have made him as someone who gave in to the luring and impressive offer of a wicked king.

Points to ponder:
Let us not take anything from someone who is wicked, if it makes us, to be, identified with them, imprisoned by them or be impressed by the offers they make; not even a thread, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Leviticus 19:19 forbids the adornment of one self, with garments made of two different threads. If we are clothed in Christ’s righteousness (Romans 13:14), we cannot then take anything from anyone who is wicked, not even a thread!

Genesis 14:23 (KJV)
23 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:

From a thread even to a shoelatchet


Genesis 14:23 tells us the response of Abram to the king of Sodom, when he asked Abram to return his people, but keep the goods that Abram had gotten as the spoils of war, against the four kings who had conquered Sodom and other nations. Abram said “I will not take anything that is yours (referring to the king of Sodom, from a thread even to a shoelatchet, lest you should be able to say, I have made Abram rich

Though the meaning of the phrase “from a thread even to a shoelatchet” is unclear, it is likely that Abram was using this expression to express that he would not take even the least of the possessions that were owned by the king of Sodom, a people that were exceeding wicked (as we shall see later in Genesis 19). Other Biblical scholars have speculated that the thread could refer to the lace that would be used to tie the hair or a head covering and the shoelatchet is used to tie shoes to the feet of a person, and if this is so, this phrase, ‘from a thread even to a shoelatchet’ would imply “from head to toe” .

Points to ponder:
Irrespective of what this phrase means, it is vital for us to recognize a couple of facts. First, we should not accept anything from wicked people, no matter how insignificant it is. Second, when we say no, we should not be partial in our rejection, but complete – as in from head to toe – from a thread even to a shoelatchet.

Genesis 14:23 (KJV)
23 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: