Gen 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.
The mind of Abram is here lifted up to the spiritual and the eternal.
(1) thy shield.
(2) thy exceeding great reward.
Abram has two fears – the presence of evil, and the absence of good. Experience and conscience had begun to teach him that both of these were justly his doom. But God has chosen him, and tells Abram that He (God) will stand between Abram and all harm, and God will be to him all good. With such a shield from all evil, and such a source of all good, he has no need to be afraid. The Lord, we see, begins, as usual, with the immediate and the tangible; but he sets a principle that reaches to the eternal and the spiritual. We have here the opening germ of the great doctrine of “the Lord our righteousness,” redeeming us on the one hand from the sentence of death, and on the other to a title to eternal life.
“Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you,” Matthew 5:12.
I never want to take for granted the salvation that I have received from Jesus. In a culture where being a follower of Christ is becoming less “hip”, I pray that I never abandon the Lord who will never abandon me. Sure, there may be some hate that comes because I chose to follow the ways of the Scriptures, but I pray that it never causes me to waiver in my walk for the Lord.
We are all called to place God in a position of significance in our lives. This calling requires believers to value God above all else in this world. One of the greatest ways we can show God how much we value Him is through our response to persecution.
Persecution is simply being mistreated because of one’s faith in God. It can come in many forms. It can be as small as one person ridiculing another because of their belief or it can be as serious as a martyr dying for their faith. This is not something that we would call a blessing, but that is exactly what God tells us that persecution is in today’s passage.
No matter the severity, God rewards those who suffer for the cause of righteousness. Jesus told His disciples here in the gospels that they could count on persecution. We can count on it as well, but we can also rejoice in the truth that God has a great reward waiting in Heaven for those who experience it.
JUST A THOUGHT
When persecution comes, will you see it as an opportunity for blessings and rewards?
The importance of a godly wife
Only eternity can reward the wives of the great preachers of the past such as the godly wife of Benjamin Keach, who at 28 years of age, was called to pastor the Baptist church at Horsleydown London in 1668. This holy lady, who had borne him five children in ten years, died in 1670, and Keach wrote a poem in her memory entitled “A Pillar Set Up.” In this poem he gave her a very great and noble character, commending her for her zeal for the truth, sincerity in religion, uncommon love to the saints, and her content in whatsoever condition of life God was pleased to bring her to. He particularly observes, how great an help, and comfort, she was to him in his suffering for the cause of Christ, visiting, and taking all possible care of him while in prison, instead of tempting him to use any means for delivery out of his troubles, encouraging him to go on, and counting it an honor done them both, in that they were called to suffer for the sake of Christ. He also said that some acknowledged that, that their conversion to God was thro’ the conversation they had with her.” Two years after her death, he married a widow of extraordinary piety with whom he lived thirty-two years. Susanna Partridge bore him five daughters, the youngest of whom married Thomas Crosby, a renowned Baptist historian. After the death of Keach, she lived with her daughter and son-in-law, and Crosby wrote of her, “She lived with me…the last twenty years of her life. I must say, that she walked before God in truth, and with a perfect heart, and did that which was good in His sight. She lived in peace, without spot and blameless.” Many godly wives saw their husbands pilloried, imprisoned, and treated roughly, and the encouragement of these women provided the strength that kept them strong. Keach died July 18, 1704. Joseph Stennett preached from, “I know whom I have believed.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 294-95.