The Difference Between Loving God’s Blessings and Loving God

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There is no audio recording today. My apologies for the inconvenience.

June 5, 2018

Genesis 15:1-8

15 After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
2 But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” 4 Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. 7 He also said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.” 8 But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”

CONSIDER THIS

By the time we get to chapter 15 of Genesis the traveling band of Abram could well have penned the famous hymn lyrics,

To this point, Abram dealt with difficult family tensions with the gracious separation from Lot and company. They endured a famine which drove them to Egypt for refuge where Abram made the ill-advised decision to pass his wife off to Pharaoh as his sister. Along the way Abram became very wealthy with many possessions and holdings. Meanwhile, Abram had to rescue his brother Lot from a disaster and in the process met the famed Priest-King Melchizidek.

All of this to say walking with God is no cake walk. It is filled with trials, hardships and difficulties. This is par for the course, whether one walks with God or not. So what’s the benefit of walking with God, if it is not an easier way? We see part of it in today’s text.

“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”

Remember how it began with Abraham?

“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
(Genesis 12:2-3)

We tend to follow after the call of God because of the promise of blessings. And those blessings come, but not without hardship and even suffering along with them. There comes a point on the journey in the walk with God where we discover the real blessing is the Lord himself. “I am your very great reward,” says the Lord to Abram.

Abram still had more questions. We all do. We all want to know why this, Jesus, and why not that and couldn’t you have done something and why didn’t you? Meanwhile, through it all, he walks with us, from our first step through our worst falls. Somewhere along the way when we begin making that shift from a “prayer life” to a “life of prayer” we discover even the blessings pale in comparison to the One who blesses. After rehearsing his privileged and set apart life, the Apostle Paul captured it with these words,

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:7-9)

Blessings come and go, as do trials and difficulties. Paul said it well when he said,

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13)

It is through the faith of those who walk with God that God reclaims the chaos, restores the broken, and establishes his Kingdom, “on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

There’s more to say about today’s text we will pick up tomorrow. Let’s give the slave runner turned saint, John Newton, the last word today from stanza 3 of his celebrated hymn, Amazing Grace.

“Through many dangers toils and snares I have already come. ‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”

THE PRAYER

Lord Jesus, you are right here, right now. I once thought life would be easier following you. I know better now. I do know that many things that seemed hard before have become sources of great blessing. I am ready to learn in a new way that you are the treasure. Take me to the place where knowing you is the greatest blessing. Right here, Jesus. Right now Jesus. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. Have you discovered that those who walk with God have as much if not more trials and difficulties than those who don’t? What do you make of that?
  2. Have you come to the place in your walk with God where you love God more than you love his blessings? Have you come to the place where you love God even without his blessings?
  3. What does it mean that the Lord is our very great reward? Reflect on that. What other rewards might we have been hoping for?

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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