All-seeing God, reaping rewards and treasures in Heaven

7 01 2011

DAY SEVEN: Genesis 14 v. 1 – 16 v. 16; Matthew 5 v. 43 – 6 v. 24; Psalm 6

Abram and Lot : There seem to be a lot of kings in a fairly small area, making pacts and waging war against each other, tribal and terratorial. Abram rescues his captured nephew and Lot’s entourage. The image of the Priest King of Salem, Melchizedek, bringing out bread and wine and pronouncing a blessing on Abram and on ‘God most High’, isn’t lost on me. Little glimpses and foretastes of all that is to come, all that will be revealed.

The Second Covenant : If God’s promise to Noah was covenant one, this is covenant two, containing promises to be Abram’s shield, and “reward’
(the introduction to the Methodist Covenant uses the phrase that we are ‘content that ‘the Lord’ appoint us our work, and that He Himself be our reward’ – ‘knowing You, Jesus, there is no greater thing…’).
In this week of much ‘stargazing’ on the television, and all the reminders of the stargazers at Epiphany, there’s the amazing promise to Abram that his offspring will be as numerous as the stars.
God speaks to Abram through a strange offering of animals and birds, a wierd dream, and a vision of smoke and fire between the offered animals, affirming His covenant promise of the land the new nation will possess.

“Abram believed the Lord, and He credited to him as righteousness”

God clearly sees the heart, and the rewards stack up in God’s ‘credit book’.

Chapter 16 gives us the origins of Ishmael, of the complexity of the relationship between Abram, Sarai and Hagar, and I was taken today by Hagar’s response to the angel of the Lord:

“You are the God who sees me…I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Jesus’s teaching : If the desire is to impress others, to ‘make a name for self’, then that’s all the reward you will get. If, however, there’s a humility, a hiddenness in the way we love, give, pray, fast, then “your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you…”
A possible picture of someone “disfiguring their face”, as Jesus told us not to, when we fast :

Some secrets of prayer :
(i) God already knows what we need, so we don’t need lengthy prayers telling God what He already knows and sees.
(ii) The Lord’s Prayer – I am reminded of a highlight of the trip to the Holy Land, a visit to the Church of the Pater Noster, outside Jerusalem, where the Lord’s Prayer adorns the surrounding walls, in hundreds of different languages (here, my favourite, the MPOO language, which I think is from Cameroon, where LMC has just purchased a couple of piglets through Methodist Relief and Development Fund)

Forgiveness – the more we know the extent of God’s grace and forgiveness towards us, the greater our capacity to be grace and forgiveness for others.

Can’t serve God and money – money, material wealth, must be there to serve, not to be served. God must be served, not treated as a servant for our comfort and well-being).

Psalm : through the experience of great distress, floods of tears, body wracked with pain
“Turn, O Lord, and deliver me; save me because of Your unfailing love….the Lord hears my cry for mercy, and accepts my prayer.”

Re-created meditation:
image from Metropolitan Tabernacle, Belfast (

Our Youth Pastor, Matt, penned a brilliant song last summer, entitled “An audience of One”. It spoke of the need for us to recognise that our real identity comes, not in seeking recognition from others, but from finding ourselves in God, discovering who He has created us to be, and living our lives in His presence, in His sight.

I wrote a similar song (for an all-age setting, our Holiday Bible Club), and the words seem to sum up a lot from this first week of blogging “Through The Bible In A Year”.

From the dawn of creation
Through stories of battles with giants
From Daniel who fled from the lions
To God’s awesome main act – Jesus Christ !

God weaves all humanity’s history
With bravery, faith and great love
Till all of us see that this drama’s for real
And we act out our lives
To an audience of one

Our Father in heaven above…..

And we will dance, dance, dance for the King of Kings
And we will sing, sing, sing His praise
And we will tell the world as the drama unfolds
Jesus is Saviour for all
Jesus is Saviour for all.