"THE LORD OUR SHIELD"
Intro. Lot had journeyed with Abraham from Haran to the land of promise. They were together until they became so prosperous that the land was not big enough for their animals to graze together. It was then that Abraham told Lot that it would be best to separate and that Lot could have the first choice. Lot saw the beauty and fertility of the Jordan Valley and pitched his tent toward Sodom. There were four kings from the area of modern Iran and Iraq who joined together to come with their armies to spoil the land. They defeated the king of Sodom and they had taken Lot and his family as hostages. When the news came to Abraham that his nephew with his family had been taken hostage by these four kings, Abraham armed his servants and pursued after them almost to Dasmascus. When Abraham caught up with them, he engaged them in battle and defeated them. He rescued Lot and all of the loot that these kings had gathered, from the kings they had defeated. As he was returning with the spoils of war. The king of
Sodom came out to meet him and recommended to Abraham that he keep all of the spoil, and just return the people to the king. Abraham declared that he had sworn to God that he would not take as much as a shoe lace from the King of Sodom, lest he would brag that he had made Abraham rich.
I. IT WAS AFTER THESE THINGS THAT THE LORD SPOKE TO ABRAHAM.
A. The war against the kings.
B. The offer from the king of Sodom to keep the great riches from the battle.
C. These were probably the background for the declaration of God to Abraham, I am your shield and your exceeding great reward.
1. The promise to be his shield probably came from the battle experience.
2. The shield was a very important part of the defensive weapons of a soldier.
3. It was used to wield off the flying arrows or the rocks hurled with the slings. It also was to defend against an attack of one wielding a sword.
4. Abraham had learned the value of a shield in the time of battle.
5. It is quite possible that his life was spared by his shield.
D. Abraham had just refused the great reward that was offered to him by the king of Sodom.
1. It could be that he was having some second thoughts about rejecting the offer.
2. That sometimes happens to a person. You are offered second helping of a delicious desert and in politeness you say "No thanks." Sort of hoping that they will insist, and when they don't insist but just let it go, you sometimes wish you had said "All right, but just a small piece please."
3. Looking back on an experience can sometimes bring more fear than the experience itself.
4. You realize just how close you came from great injury or death. Just a fraction of a second difference and you would not be here to tell about it. Just an eighth of an inch and you would have lost the sight in that one eye.
5. We begin to realize just how fragile life is, that we are only a breath away from eternity.
II. BY GOD DECLARING TO ABRAHAM THAT HE WAS HIS SHIELD AND GREAT REWARD, GOD WAS SAYING THAT HE WOULD ALWAYS BE TO ABRAHAM, EVERYTHING THAT HE EVER NEEDED FOR SAFTY OR SECURITY.
A. This is important as we are facing the year 2,000.
1. There are many who are worried about the possible calamities of vital computers failing causing a disruption of our whole economy, and the infrastructure of the nation.
2. Many are postponing trips until after the first of the year, fearful of possible gliches in the vital computer chips imbedded in so many of the engines in the planes or automobiles.
3. Some have moved to remote areas, dug wells, put in portable power systems, and stored in a supply of food. Some have gone so far as to arm themselves in case some desperate person might try to take by force their food supplies.
4. It may be that Abraham was thinking about getting a few more weapons, in case he whould ever have to again arm his servants in the pursuit of an aggressor. Perhaps a few more shields.
5. God was saying to him, as He says to you, "I will be your protector."
a. I was called by a reporter the other day who wanted to know what I was doing to prepare for the year 2,000. I think they were looking for some kind of radical preparation, and were greatly disappointed when I responded nothing. My hope is in the Lord and has never been in some computer chip.
b. The psalmist said, "Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman wakes in vain."
B. There are many things to strike fear to your heart.
1. The government has issued several warnings of possible terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens in the next few weeks. Informed sources have told of plans of imminent attacks.
2. There are many who feel that the Soviets may launch a massive nuclear attack against the U.S. in the next few days. Their theory is that the computer chips in the the rockets are not compliant with the year 2000, so if they do not use them by then, they will lose them.
3. It is interesting that Yeltzin was talking tough while on a visit in China, and warned our president that he must not forget their great nuclear capacity, and at the same time one of their leaders was present at that successful launching of a new generation of rockets designed for warfare.
III. I AM THY EXCEEDING GREAT REWARD.
A. Abraham had just rejected the reward offered by the king of Sodom, for rescuing his goods and people.
1. In the years to come as the people would talk of the great wealth of Abraham, he did not want the king to say, "You know I am the one that made him wealthy."
2. He wanted the Lord to get the glory for all that the Lord would do in his life.
3. God had already blessed him abundantly, if you have 318 servants that have been born in your house who have been trained for battle, that is pretty rich.
B. The Lord had promised to give to his descendants all of the land from Egypt to the Euphrates river, but that was not the reward.
C. The Lord said, "I am thy exceeding great reward."
1. Having God is a greater riches than all of combined wealth of the world.
a. Jesus said, "What shall it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world but lose his own soul?"
b. Jesus warned about laying up treasures on earth, at best they are temporary.
And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have run out of room to store my fruit?
And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I store all my fruit and my goods.
And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have it made, take it easy, eat, drink, [and] be merry.
But God said unto him, fool, you are going to die tonight: then who shall get all of the things you have amassed?
So [is] he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
2. George Beverly Shea the soloist for Billy Graham sings: I'd rather have Jesus, than silver or gold, I'd rather be His, than have riches untold. I'd rather have Jesus than houses or lands, I'd rather be led by His nail pierced hand. Than to be the king of a vast domain, and be held in sin's dead sway, I'd rather have Jesus than anything, This world affords today.
3. Or as Bruce Cotton used to sing. "I've God Jesus and that's enough."
4. As John wrote: "This is the record, God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son, He that has the Son has life."
D. When God is your exceeding great reward, you really need nothing else, for the whole package comes with Him.
1. You do not have to worry about what the new year may bring, the Lord is my exceeding great reward.
2. Have you noticed in scripture how that the cure to fear is always associated with the awareness of the presence of God?
a. "Fear not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed for I am your God."
b. David said: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me."
E. Let me just say, with all of the uncertainties that the year 2000 threatens to bring, I am thankful that I do not face it alone. The Lord is my exceeding great reward, I would not want to face the future without Him, and I am grateful that I do not have to face the future without Him. "I've God Jesus and that's enough."