Genesis 15:1-2 (KJV): "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. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt though give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?"
The Abram mentioned above later became known as Abraham. In those days, a man's wealth was measured by livestock, servants and children. Among the children, a male heir was crucially important as the means for sustaining your family name in the earth. Abraham's greatest desire was for God to reward him with a son to be his heir.
By saying, "I am thy exceeding great reward," God was telling Abraham that the greatest "reward" any man could ever receive is a personal relationship with Him. The primary reason mankind was created was so that we could spend eternity in fellowship with our Lord. God was explaining that He Himself is life's greatest reward.
The Bible calls Abraham the father of the faithful but it calls Jesus "the author and finisher of our faith."
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:2).
Jesus was able to endure the cross by focusing on some future "joy" or reward that He would receive after His shameful death. What was this great reward that was set before Jesus? What future "joy" could make Him willingly to endure the most painful execution humans had ever conceived? He was already the owner of creation, so what was His great reward? Friends, the reward that sustained Jesus was the thought of His being with you forever. Jesus was filled with such joy over thoughts of eternity spent with you that, for Him, the cross was worthwhile.
Like Abraham, many Christians have various ideas about how they should be rewarded by God. Some think that their devotion will be reflected by material "blessings" that others can also appreciate. Some have a higher view, thinking the objective is an eternal heaven filled with streets of gold, mansions and other rewards. Knowing Jesus and being known by Him should be our highest desire.
When God spoke to Abraham, He said, "I am thy very great reward." He was proclaiming that a relationship with Him is our highest reward, now and in eternity. Jesus endured the shame of the cross by focusing His thoughts on eternity spent with you. You were "the joy set before Him." God's redemptive plan of the ages makes it possible for us to become His eternal reward and Him to become ours. The Lord is looking for those who value Him above all else. Eternity with Jesus is the joy set before us and Jesus is our very great reward.
Pitts and Mary Evans met at the University of South Carolina and have been married since 1981. They have three adult children, a daughter in-law, a son in-law and eight grandchildren. Pitts first attended Whole Word Fellowship with his parents in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was later called to full-time ministry and currently serves as the senior pastor of WWF and the Northern Virginia House of Prayer. He is the voice of our weekday The Whole Word Podcast. Pastor Pitts also directs our international ministry, overseeing humanitarian efforts, combating human trafficking, ministering in pastor's conferences, Bible schools and seminaries in other nations. His primary calling is for recruiting and equipping the bride of Christ through Bible teaching and preaching. His new book, The Wife of God, is available from Amazon.
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