“Resist fear…I am your shield…your reward shall be beyond your expectation…”
Genesis 15:1 (paraphrased)
An alliance of four kings rebelled against an oppressive confederation of five kings. They sacked their cities, gathered the loot and headed home with the prisoners. Abram’s nephew Lot was among them.
Abram mustered his servants—318 trusted Gurkha-like warriors—pursued and conquered the unsuspecting commandos. He returned with ALL the plunder and ALL the prisoners.
Think of it. Three hundred and eighteen servants (not professional soldiers!) out-muscled an allied army of several thousand. That’s sovereign intervention!
On his way home Abram was met by Melchizedek, “king of Salem, priest of God Most High”, who pronounced blessing on him. Abram honored God and acknowledged His servant with a tithe.
Overwhelmed with gratitude, the king of Sodom told Abram, “Just give me the citizens, you keep all the booty.” Instant exorbitant riches—fair compensation for a comprehensive military victory.
But Abram refused. “I’ve made a deal with the Lord, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, to not take even a shoelace from anyone—God alone gets credit for my provision and wealth.” That’s a bold statement of faith with a courageous demonstration to back it up.
Profound affirmation after incredible military victory against impossible odds followed by daring proclamation of faith! So why would God tell Abram “Don’t be afraid”?
My guess is that God saw several issues in Abram that stemmed from a root of fear. Interestingly, like Abram, we are most vulnerable to these tentacles of fear immediately after sovereign intervention. They choke the life out of our faith.
Abram probably second-guessed his refusing the king’s offer. That was a lot of plunder, after all, and Abram was as human as you and I.
But weighing even heavier on Abram’s faith was God’s unfulfilled promise. It’d been a long wait with still no sign of a son. Yes, the military victory over the four-king alliance was a miracle, but this was personal.
God spoke to the heart of Abram”s problem. “Shift your focus, Abram. I AM your shield—your protection against fear that cripples your faith and steals your reward.”
Look at the protection God offers:
- physical: “I will remove or disarm people and structures that stand in the way of your forward movement and answered prayers.”
- material: “I will take you and keep you out of lack and poverty.”
- emotional: “I will replace all those feelings that rob you of confidence and hope.”
- spiritual: “I will empower you against doubt and unbelief.”
With an Iron Dome shield like that, we can hold steady as we move step by step toward promised destiny.
Without hesitation, I certify that this Scripture is true—the Almighty, our Father, is a trustworthy shield against all fear. From our experience, I can testify that the reward of obedient faith is exceedingly great. Resist fear, embrace the Father as your shield, and then let Him surprise you with His faithfulness.
“I will shake heaven and earth…” Haggai 2:6
We had no plans to leave Jamaica. Living in paradise is not always easy, remedy but our roots had grown 31 years deep. So the gnawing sense that Father was asking us to move back to Canada felt uneasy. None of us readily breaks out of our comfort zone.
But change was blowing in the wind, sale and the words of Haggai were echoing around the world in the mouths of present-day prophets: “I will shake heaven and earth…”
Interesting how we distance ourselves from the “Word.” We’re sure He’s talking to someone else, not us. Little did we realize that we were heading for some shaking and rattling to get us rolling!
One of the first lessons we had to learn was to let go. Not easy, because the response is counter-intuitive. Instinctively, when our status quo is threatened we tighten our grip on the things that give us security.
But when God starts shaking things up, the only safe response is to let it go. We need not fear for He watches over us to catch us if we slip. His intention is to break loose things that impede our moving forward.
One of dangers in life is that we too easily become comfortable and complacent. The demonstration of peace, hope and well-being is displaced by the mundane. The light and joy within dim. We trudge from day to day.
In His mercy, God shakes us out of our death spiral so we can break into abounding life. “I’ve come to ignite you with a spectacular display of life,” Jesus said. (John 10:10)
But we must choose. Either our relationship with God stays in a familiar rut or we pluck up courage to face reality. I chose the latter.
“Who are You? Show me something about You that I’ve not known. Tell me some things You share only with Your closest friends.” I’m desperate.
His answer is immediate and simple, “Okay, but first you’ll have to get rid of some old notions about Me. And we will dialogue differently from what you’re used to—what you call ‘pray.’ Are you up for that?”
“Second, you’ll need to change the way you engage with My Word (the Bible). You can’t just read it casually or even dutifully. You must anticipate as you read, listen for my faint whisper as I speak to you. Focus your full attention or you’ll miss it.”
“Each morning I will give you a sword. With it you can chop through every circumstance you encounter and defeat the enemy waiting on your path to ambush you—that old snake who still hisses in your ear, “Did God really say that? You don’t really believe that, do you?”
“Third, I’m going to assay your faith, or lack of it. I will uncover the cancerous anxiety, doubt and unbelief embedded in you. You believe I exist as Creator and King of the Universe—that’s faith. But I’m bringing you to trust—living with the awareness that I am an intimate part of your life and that every single thing that happens is for your good.”
“My objective is to instill in you what John expressed when he wrote, “We have this confidence toward Him: we know that He hears us when we ask, and therefore we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15)
“One last thing. This is no quick fix, it’s a process. At times it will feel like open heart surgery. Sometimes it will feel like you’re going through hell. Don’t stop! Even when you feel like it—don’t quit!”
“There is a through…you will make it through, I’ll see to that. And there is an other side…I’m talking here-and-now, in-your-lifetime; and it’s beyond what you can imagine. Are you up for it?”
My choice is clear…