Moment in the Word

Isaiah 55:8-9 "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."
In last week's nursing home Bible study, we learned that God always thinks about us because David said, "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee." Psalms 139:17-18 So, today, let's look at one of my favorite human encounters with God.
After leaving his home and wandering into the wilderness of Canaan, Abraham followed and obeyed the Almighty for years, expecting the gift of a son to further the family line. However, the fulfillment was slow in coming, and our Heavenly Father knew the man was growing old and disillusioned. Consequently, God encouraged Abraham, "After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram (don't be sad, thinking that I have forgotten My promise to you): I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." Genesis 15:1
But Abraham still felt abandoned and answered God, "Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless ..." And Abram said, "Behold, to me thou hast given no seed ..." Genesis 15:2-3
Sometimes, when we get very low in spirit, we also might personally ponder what Abraham actually spoke, "Lord, what have you ever done for me?"
But in such a moment, we need to lift our thoughts to a higher level and count each and every blessing God provides daily, or as St. Paul said, "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice! Be anxious for nothing (don't worry or fret about anything), but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy— meditate on these things." Philippians 4:4-8
Why? Jeremiah said, "Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, 'The LORD is my INHERITANCE; therefore, I will hope in him!'" Lamentations 3:21-24 or, as God told Abraham, "I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward!"
More than simply trinkets and baubles, God promised to literally surrender Himself as repayment/reward for our loyal service! But, is this not what already occurred in Bethlehem so many Christmases ago, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
Momentarily, consider our little king's most glorious Hebrew name, "Pele-joez-el-gibbor-abi-ad-sar-shalom ..." Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace! Is that not adequate compensation for our faltering spiritual devotion to Him?
In conclusion, listen to the third verse of John Newton's old hymn - Amazing Grace ...
The Lord hath promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my SHIELD and PORTION be
As long as life endures.
Sadly, most of our modern hymnals omit this third stanza of Newton's old poem, but this Christmas promise from God is the most important of all, "I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward!"
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