Genesis 15:10
So Abram brought all these to Him, split each of them down the middle, and laid the halves opposite each other. The birds, however, he did not cut in half.
Jehovah's Covenant with AbramC. Jordan, M. A.Genesis 15:7-21
The Confirmation of FaithT. H. Leale.Genesis 15:7-21
The Cross of Christ: its Blessings and its TrialsF. Whitefield, M. A.Genesis 15:7-21
The First Stage of the CovenantThe Congregational PulpitGenesis 15:7-21
Watching with GodT. H. Leale.Genesis 15:7-21
FaithR.A. Redford Genesis 15


1. Looking up to the Divine character - "I am the Lord."

2. Looking back to the Divine grace - "that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees."

3. Looking oat to the Divine promise - "to give thee this land to inherit it."


1. Looking forward - the fulfillment of the promise seeming far away.

2. Looking in - discovering nothing either in or about itself to guarantee its ultimate realization. - W.

Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.


1. He is the shield of their substance.

2. He is the shield of their bodies.

3. He is the shield of their souls.


1. It is omnipotent.

2. It is a perpetual shield.

3. A universal shield.

4. The only shield.


1. Let saints cleave to the Lord, and thus avail themselves of this invaluable shield. Faith and prayer encircle us with God's protecting and preserving power.

2. Be grateful for it. How we ought to exult in it, and give God constant and hearty thanks for it.

3. How awful is the condition of the sinner. Not only without this shield, but in opposition to God, and exposed to His Divine power and wrath.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

Sketches of Sermons.

1. A man of genuine faith.

2. Of importunate prayer.

3. Of cordial hospitality.

4. Of uniform obedience.


1. There is a fear of persecution.

2. There is a fear of poverty.

3. There is the fear of pain.


1. God defends the persons of His people.

2. He protects their substance.

3. God is the reward of His people.From this subject we learn —

1. The security and safety of God's people. God is their shield; they live in a world of enemies.

2. Their tranquillity and happiness.

3. The fearless confidence with which they should be inspired. What can they fear, while God is their shield and their exceeding great reward? shall they fear tribulation, or distress, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

(Sketches of Sermons.)


1. God is the defence of His people. He shields them from danger —

(1)By His providence.

(2)By His grace.

2. God is the portion of His people. He gives them Himself.


1. Fear not the enemies which surround you.

2. Fear not the dangers which threaten you.

3. Fear not the toils you may have to undergo.

4. Fear not the sacrifices you may have to make. Let fear be replaced by a confidence coming from God.

(J. King.)

The Congregational Pulpit.
I. GOD IS OUR SHIELD. God is your shield, and therefore, you are safe. Christian, what is your fear?

1. There is Satan: and he is a cruel and powerful foe. True; but God is greater than he.

2. There are men: the ungodly and the false, who seek to injure us in mind, character, friendships, position, property. Do not be terrified by your adversaries. Commit your cause and way to God (see Psalm 120; Psalm 121.).

3. There are the sorrows and afflictions of life.

II. "AND EXCEEDING GREAT REWARD." We are called to endure much, and to give up much, for the kingdom of heaven's sake. We are not promised the compensation of pecuniary wealth, or honour, and praise among men. But God is Himself our reward. This is partly realized here: but is mainly reserved for hereafter.

1. God is our secret solace in this life.

2. He is our eternal reward.

(The Congregational Pulpit.)

"I am thy shield." These are the words that Jesus speaks to all His people. No one can do so much for our protection as He can. And so the subject we have now to consider is, Jesus the shield of His people. He is the best shield. We may speak of three reasons why this is the best shield.

I. It is so, in the first place, because it is so LARGE. The shields which the warriors had in old times were not large enough to cover the whole body. If a soldier held up his shield so as to cover his head, he would leave the lower part of his body uncovered. If he tried to protect that part of his body, then he must leave his head uncovered. And even if the shield had been large enough to cover his body from head to foot, still it would only protect him on one side at a time. While he was holding the shield in front of him, he might be wounded from behind. While any part of the body is left unprotected, we never can tell how soon danger and death may come through that very part. We read about a celebrated Grecian warrior in old times, whose name was Achilles. It was said of him that his body was protected all over from head to foot, so that there was no place in which it was possible for him to be wounded except in one of his heels. Now we should think that, under such circumstances, a man would be pretty safe. And yet the story says that, while engaged in fighting one day, Achilles was wounded by a poisoned arrow in that very place, and died of the wound in his heel. But, when Jesus becomes our shield, He is the best shield, because He can cover us all over. He can protect, at the same time, both head and heart, and hands and feet, and body and soul, and home and family, and all that belongs to us. And when we see how wonderfully Jesus can make use of anything that He pleases, in order to protect the lives, and property, and happiness of His people, we see how well He may say to anyone, as He did to Abraham: "I am thy shield." In the winter of 1873, there was a terrible explosion of a steam boiler in the city of Pittsburg. A number of persons were killed, and many more wounded. But there was one life preserved in a very singular way, as if on purpose to show how God can make use of anything He pleases, in order to shield His people from harm. This singular circumstance occurred to the wife of one of the men who was working in the mill where the explosion took place. She was in her own house, busy with her usual household duties, when she heard the noise of the explosion. All at once, she felt an unusual desire to pray. In a moment, she fell on her knees and began to pray. While she was thus engaged, a large piece of the boiler which had just exploded, weighing about two hundred pounds, came crashing through the room, and passed directly by the place where her head would have been if she had not been kneeling down in prayer. That prayer saved her life. Surely, He may well be called the best shield, who can protect the lives of His people in such strange ways as this! One winter night, many years ago, the inhabitants of the town of Sleswick, in Denmark, were thrown into great alarm. A hostile army was marching down upon them, and the people were greatly afraid of the soldiers. In a large cottage on the outskirts of the town lived an aged grandmother with her widowed daughter and grandson. This grandmother was a good Christian woman. Before going to bed that night, she prayed earnestly that God would, in the language of an old hymn, "build a wall of defence about them." Her grandson asked her why she offered a prayer like that, for she certainly could not expect God to do any such thing. She told him she did not mean a real, literal stone wall, but that He would be their shield, and protect them. At midnight, the soldiers were heard coming, tramp, tramp, tramping into the town. They filled most of the houses in the town. But no one came to the widow's cottage. When the morning dawned, the reason of this was plainly seen. The snow had drifted, and made a wall in front of the widow's cottage, so that it was almost hidden, and no one could get near it. "There, my son," said the grandmother, "don't you see how God has made a wall about us, and shielded us from danger?"

II. This is the best shield, because it is so SAFE. In old times, when a soldier was engaged in fighting, if his enemy raised his sword to strike, he would lift up his shield to turn aside the blow. And so, when an arrow was shot at him, or a spear thrust at him, he would try to ward them off with his shield. But, if his shield were made of paper, or pasteboard, or light wood, or tin, or even if it were covered with a thin sheet of brass or iron, it would not be safe. A heavy blow from a sword, or spear, or arrow, would go through it. And so, since the invention of gunpowder, shields are not used any more, because they cannot be made light enough for a soldier to carry, and yet solid enough to prevent a rifle ball from going through. Indeed, it is impossible to make a shield now of any kind that cannot be penetrated. Why, even when we cover the sides of our ships of war with plates of solid iron, four and five inches thick, they are not safe: they are not impenetrable. A cannon-ball can be sent with such force as to go crashing through them. But, when Jesus becomes our shield, we are entirely safe. Pie is a shield that nothing can penetrate, or get through (see Isaiah 54:17; Psalm 91:4). A minister, whose name was Stewart, was appointed to preach in a wild, mountainous part of Ireland, in which were many Roman Catholics. Some of these men were very bitter in their feelings towards the Protestants. One night, this good minister was preaching in the house of a farmer, when a very violent Romanist, who was present, interrupted him several times. After the meeting broke up, with a dreadful oath he swore he would kill the minister before he crossed the mountain the next day, as he understood he was going over in the morning to preach in another place. In the morning, the minister rose early to get a good start on his journey. The farmer's wife begged him not to go, on account of the man who had threatened to kill hire. He said: "No, I must go. The Lord is my shield, and He can take care of me." After lifting up his heart in prayer, he started. He had passed over the top of the mountain, and was descending on the other side, when he saw two men standing in the road. As he came near them, they seemed to be much excited. "What's the matter, my friends?" he asked. They pointed to a man who was lying by the side of the road, and said, "About fifteen minutes before you appeared in sight, that man came to this place. We were digging turf in the field. We saw him stagger and fall. We ran to his assistance; but when we came up to him he was dead." The minister looked at him, and said: "Last night that man swore a dreadful oath that he would kill me before I crossed this mountain. Poor fellow! he had come here, I suppose, to carry out his oath." "Well," said the men, "he will kill no one now." This good minister trusted to the best shield, and we see how safe it kept him. Many years ago, a gentleman in England, who lived in the country, kept a fine, large mastiff dog, whose name was Hero. He was chained up during the day, but let loose at night to guard the place. It happened once that several sheep belonging to a neighbouring farm had been killed on different nights. The owner of them charged Hero with being the cause of their death. One night another sheep was killed and it was plain that Hero had killed it. Under these circumstances, the gentleman felt that, sorry as he was to part with his dog, he could not keep him any longer. So he said to his servant, in the presence of the dog: "John, get a piece of stout rope and hang Hero behind the barn where he can't be seen from the house." Strange as it may seem, the dog must have understood what was said; for he rose at once, leaped over a stone fence, ran off, and disappeared from that neighbourhood. Seven years afterwards, this gentleman had some business in the north of England, on the borders of Scotland. At the close of a winter's day, he put up for the night at an inn by the wayside. He dismounted, and went to the stable to see that his horse was properly taken care of. Here he was followed by a large mastiff dog, who tried in various ways to engage his attention. When he sat down in the hall, the dog came and sat by his side. He began to think there was something strange in the dog's manner. He patted him on the head, and spoke kindly to him. Encouraged by this, the dog put his paw on the gentleman's knee, and looked up earnestly into his face, as much as to say: "Don't you know me?" After looking at the dog for awhile, he exclaimed: "Why, Hero, is this you?" Then the poor creature danced, and capered about, and licked his old master's hands, and tried in every way to show how glad he was to see him once more. After this, the dog remained by his side. On going to bed at night, Hero followed him to his room. When he was about to undress, the dog seized the skirt of his coat, and drew his master towards the door of a closet that opened into that room. The door was fastened, but, after a great deal of trouble, he contrived to get it open, when, to his surprise and horror, he found the dead body of a murdered man there. He saw in a moment what sort of a place he was in, and what he might expect that night. He made preparations to defend himself as well as he could. He had a pair of double-barreled pistols with him, and he saw that they were loaded, and primed, and ready for use. Then he fastened his door, and piled up all that was movable in the room against the door. Then he sat down to wait for the murderers, for he was sure they would come. Towards midnight, he heard steps in the entry. Then the handle of his door was tried. Finding it fastened, they knocked. "Who's there?" he asked. "Open the door," was the answer. "What do you want?" "We want to come in." "You can't come in." "We must come in." "Then get in the best way you can, and I'll shoot the first man that enters." They sent for an axe to break through the door. While waiting for the axe, the gentleman heard a carriage drive by. He opened the window and called for help. The carriage stopped. Four men jumped out of it. By their help, the gentleman was relieved from his danger. The men who kept the house were caught and tried. It was found that they had killed a number of persons in that way. Some of them were hung and the rest put in prison. Of course Hero was taken back to his old home, and treated as such a faithful creature deserved to be. And when he died, his master had him buried, and a monument erected over him which told of his faithfulness. And surely the God who can protect His people in such strange ways may well say: "I am thy shield." Ill. This is the best shield, because it is so READY. In the days when shields were used, a soldier was not able to keep his shield all the time in a position to defend himself. But it is different with the best shield. Jesus, our shield, has an arm that is never weary. By day and by night, at home and abroad, He is our shield; and He is always ready to protect and keep us. There is a story told of William, Prince of Orange, known as William the Silent, which illustrates this part of our subject very well. He lived about three hundred years ago. He was the governor of Holland. That is a little country, but its people have always been very brave. Philip II, who was then King of Spain, was one of the most powerful kings in the world at that time. He was trying to conquer Holland, and to make the Dutch, who lived there, give up their Protestant religion and become Roman Catholics. He sent an army into this country to conquer it; but, led on by their noble Prince, the Dutch people struggled like heroes for their liberty and their religion. When the King of Spain found that he could not conquer the Prince of Orange in battle, he tried to get rid of him in another way. He offered a large sum of money to anyone who would kill him. There are always bad men to be found who will do as wicked a thing as this for money. Some Spanish soldiers, who wanted to get this reward, made up their minds to try to kill the prince. One dark night, they managed to pass by the sentinels, and were going directly towards the tent in which the prince was sleeping. They were near the tent. Their daggers were drawn. They were treading very cautiously, so as not to be heard. But the prince had a faithful little dog, that always slept at the foot of his master's bed. He heard the tread of the murderers, although they were coming so carefully. He jumped up and began to bark. This wakened his master. He sprang up in bed, seized his pistol, and cried: "Halt! who comes there?" When the murderers found that the prince was awake, they turned and fled. And thus that little dog saved his master's life. The prince was asleep, and could not protect himself. But He who says, "I am thy shield," was there to protect him. He is the best shield, because He is always ready. A dear little English boy, named Bennie, lay sleeping in the shady verandah of his Indian home. The nurse who had been trusted with him had neglected her charge, and left him while he was asleep. A great fierce tiger, prowling in search of prey, finding the village very quiet, had ventured in among the dwellings. The English gentlemen were all absent; the natives were in the rice fields, and the ladies were taking their rest during the heat of the day. The tiger crept noiselessly past the quiet house, until he saw the sleeping child. Then, with one bound, he sprang upon him, grasped the flowing white robe of the child in his teeth, and darted off with it to his native jungle. Having secured his prize, he laid it down; and, as the kitten often plays with a captive mouse before devouring it, so the tiger began sporting with the child. He walked round and round him; laid first one paw and then another gently on his plump little limbs, and looked into the boy's beautiful face, as if his savage heart was almost melted by its sweetness. There was a brave little heart in Bennie, for he did not seem to be at all alarmed by his strange companion. He was well-used to Nero, the large black house dog; the ponies were his chief favourites; and he felt inclined to look on the tiger as if he were only Nero's brother. And when the tiger glared at him with his great fiery eyeballs, or when the sight of his dreadful teeth made his heart beat for a moment, he only returned the gaze, saying in baby language: "I'm not afraid of you, for I've got a father! You can't hurt Bennie -- Bennie's got a mamma!" Oh, if we could only have the same trust in our heavenly Father, how well it would be for us! All this time, while her darling boy was in such dreadful danger, his mother was sleeping. The faithless nurse returned by-and-by, to find the child gone. In her fright, she flew from house to house in search of him. But the Eye that never sleeps was watching that dear child. The best shield was stretched over him. An aged native had heard the tiger give a low, peculiar growl, from which he knew that he had seized some prey. Taking his gun, he followed in his trail till he came near him. Then he hid himself carefully behind the bushes. He saw the terrible creature playing with the child, and dreaded every moment to see him tear it to pieces. He watched his opportunity to fire, fearful lest the ball intended for the tiger should hit the child. The proper moment came. He took his aim, and fired. The tiger leaped, gave a howl of pain, ran a few steps, and fell dead by the side of the now frightened child. It was He who said, "I am thy shield," who watched over and protected that little one in such an hour of fearful danger. This is the best shield, for three reasons. In the first, because it is so large; in the second, because it is so safe; and in the third place, because it is so ready. Let us be sure that we make Jesus our friend. Then, wherever we go and wherever we stay, we shall be safe, because we shall have this best shield for our protection. Remember that Jesus has said, "I am thy shield."

(R. Newton, D. D.)

When the good man sees God wasting the mountains and the hills, and drying up the rivers, he does not say, "I must worship Him, or He will destroy me"; he says, "The beneficent side of that power is all mine; because of that power I am safe; the very lightning is my guardian, and in the whirlwind I hear a pledge of benediction." The good man is delivered from the fear of power; power has become to him an assurance of rest; he says, "My Father has infinite resources of judgment, and every one of them is to my trusting heart a signal of unsearchable riches of mercy."

(J. Parker, D. D.)

There are two main things that man needs in this world: he needs protection and the fulfilment of his desires and labours, a negative and a positive, a shield and a reward, something to protect him while in the battle, something to reward him when it is over. This promise is silently keyed to the note of struggle as underlying life, the conception of life that the wise have always taken. Life is not mere continuance or development; it is not a harmony, but a struggle. It continues, it develops, it may reach a harmony, but these are not now its main aspects. It is this element of struggle that separates us from other creations. A tree grows, a brute develops what was lodged within it; but man chooses, and choice by its nature involves struggle. It is through choice and its conflicts that man makes his world, himself, and his destiny; for in the last analysis character is choice ultimated. The animals live on in their vast variety and generations without changing the surface of the earth, or varying the sequences wrought into their being; but man transforms the earth, and works out for himself diverse histories and destinies. It is this nobler view of man, as choosing and struggling, that makes it needful he should have protection in the world. If he were only an animal he might be left to nature, for nature is adequate to the needs of all within her category; but transcending, and therefore lacking full adjustment to nature, he needs care and help beyond what she can render, He finds himself here set to do battle, life based and turning on struggle; but nature offers him no shield fit to protect him, nor can nature reward him when the struggle is over. She has no gifts that he much cares for, she can weave no crown that endures, and her hand is too short to reach his brow. There is a better philosophy back here in the beginnings of history, the beginnings also of true, full life. Abram is the first man who had a full religious equipment. He had open relations to God; he had gained the secret of worship; he had a clear sense of duty, and a governing principle, namely, faith or trust in God. It starts out of and is based on this promise of God to be his shield and reward. His sense of God put his life before him in all its terrible reality; it is not going to be an easy matter to live it. Mighty covenants are to be made; how shall he have strength to keep them? He is to become the head of a separate nation; how can he endure the isolation necessary to the beginning? He is to undergo heavy trials and disappointments; how shall he bear them? He is promised a country for his own, but he is to wander a citizen of the desert all his days, and die in a land not yet possessed; how can he still believe with a faith that mounts up to righteousness? Only through this heralding promise: "I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." When you are in trouble I will protect you. When you fail of earthly rewards I will be your reward. But Abram's life, in its essential features, was not exceptional. I do not know that it was harder to live than yours or mine. I do not know that his duties were more imperative, his doubts more perplexing, his disappointments and checks severer than those encountered by us all today. He needed and we need two things to carry us through, protection and fulfilment of desires, shield and reward. Let us now look at the first of these two things with something more of detail.

1. We need protection against the forces of nature. In certain aspects nature is kind to us and helps us; she strives to repair any injury she may do to us; she is often submissive and serves us with docility. But in other respects she is cruel and unsparing, and her general aspect is that of a power over us rather than under us. I confess that I should be filled with an unspeakable dread if I were forced to feel that I was wholly shut up in nature. We are constantly brought face to face with its overpowering and destroying forces, and we find them relentless. We may outwit or outmaster them up to a certain point, but beyond that we are swept helpless along their fixed and fatal current. But how does God become a shield against them? Only by the assurance that we belong to Himself rather than to nature. When that assurance is received, I put myself into His larger order; I join the stronger power and link myself to its fortunes. It makes a great difference practically, which side we take. If the material world includes me, then I have no shield against its relentless forces, its less than brute indiscrimination, its sure finiteness or impersonal and shifting continuance. Then I am no more than one of its grains of dust, and must at last meet the fate of a grain of dust. But if spirit has an existence of its own, if there is a spiritual order with God at its head and with freedom for its method, then I belong to that order, there is my destiny, there is my daily life. My faith in that order and its Head is my shield when the forces of nature assault me and its finiteness threatens to destroy me.

2. We need a shield against the inevitable evils of existence. Sooner or later there comes a time to every one of us when we are made to feel not only that we at. weaker than nature, but that there is an element of real or apparent evil in our lore There dawns on us a sense of mortality peculiarly real. The tables are turned with us. Heretofore life, the world, the body — all have been for us; now they are against us, they are failing us; the shadow of our doom begins to creep upon us. How real this experience is every thoughtful person of years well knows. It has in it, I verily believes more bitterness than death itself. It is the secret of the sadness of age. And there is every reason why this experience should be sad. It is necessarily so until we can meet it with some larger truth and fact. Along with this decadence of powers comes a greater evil — an apprehension of finiteness. In our years of wholeness and strength there is no such apprehension. Life carries with it a mighty affirmation of continuance, but when life weakens it begins to doubt itself. But the idea of coming to an end is intolerable; it does not suit our nature or feelings; it throws us into confusion; we become a puzzle to ourselves; we cannot get our life into any order or find for it any sufficient motive or end, and so it turns into a horrible jest, unless we can ground ourselves on some other conception. But the sense of finiteness presses on us with increasing force; it seems to outmaster the infinite, and even to assert its mastery in the process at work within us. It is here that we need a shield to interpose against the horrible suggestions of this last battle of life. And it is just here that God offers Himself as such a shield — God Himself in all the personality of His being — the I Am — Existence. The name itself is an argument; existence is in question, and here is Existence itself saying to a mortal man, "I am your shield." Between ourselves longing for life, and this devouring sense of finiteness, stands God — a shield. "I made you," He says, "but you shall not perish because I put you into a perishing body. Because I made you you cannot perish. Because I am the ever-living God you shall live also."

3. God is a shield against the calamities of life. It is rarely that one gets far on in life without seeing many times when it is too hard to be borne. For vast multitudes life is unutterably sad and bitter, for many others it is dull and insipid, for others one long disappointment, for none is it its own reward. It will always wear this aspect to the sensitive and the thoughtful unless some other element or power is brought in. Man cannot well face life without some shield between. He may fight ever so bravely, but the spears of life will be too many and too sharp for him. And no shield will thoroughly defend him but God. The lowest, by its very condition, demands the highest; the weakest calls out for the strongest — none but the strongest can succour the weakest; the saddest can be comforted only by the most blessed; the finite can get deliverance from its binding and torturing condition only in the eternal one.

4. God is a shield against ourselves. It is, in a certain sense, true of us all that we are our own worst enemies. It is the last and worst result of selfishness that it leaves one alone with self, out of all external relations, sealed up within self-built enclosures. A very fair and seemly life may end in this way. If self be the central thought, it ends in nothing but self, and when this comes about we find that self is a poor companion. One of the main uses of God, so to speak, is to give us another consciousness than that of self — a God consciousness. It was this that Christ made the world's salvation, not breaking the Roman yoke, not instituting a new government or a new religion, not revealing any formal law or secret of material prosperity, or any theory of education or reform, but simply making plain a fact, assuring the world that God is, and that He is the Father, and breathing a consciousness of it into men, opening it up to the world's view, and writing it upon its heart as in letters of His own blood; thus He brought in a God consciousness, in place of a world consciousness and a self-consciousness, this only, but who shall measure its redeeming power! And there is no more gracious, shield-like interposing of God than when He comes in between us and self as a delivering presence. It is the joy of friendship that we are conscious of our friend, and that he draws us away from ourselves. It is the joy of the home that each one is conscious of the other; home life reaches its perfection when parents and children not only love, but pass on to the highest form of love — a steady and all-informing consciousness of one another. It shadows forth the largest form of the truth, God dwelling, not amongst but in men, a shield against themselves.

(T. T. Munger.)

How few duly consider the tremendous dangers to which they are exposed by sin! Flight there is none, for God is everywhere. Resistance there is none, for God has all power. Self is ruin, because self is sin; and sin the cause of the ire. But against all this righteous anger, there is a shield most righteously provided in Christ Jesus. But God's abhorrence of evil is not our only adversary. There is the evil one, red with the blood of myriads of our race. He lays an ambush at every turn. Now a shower of darts pelts pitilessly. Now the weight of incessant batterings descends. Now a sudden arrow flies swiftly in the dark; and suddenly we fall, ere danger is suspected. He never slumbers, never is weary, never relents, never abandons hope. He deals his blows alike at childhood's weakness, youth's inexperience, manhood's strength, and the totterings of age. He watches to ensnare the morning thought. He departs not with the shades of night. By his legions he is everywhere, at all times. He enters the palace, the hut, the fortress, the camp, the fleet. He infests every chamber of every dwelling, every pew of every sanctuary. He is busy with the busy. He hurries about with the active. He sits by each bed of sickness, and whispers into each dying ear. As the spirit quits the tenement of clay, he still draws his bow with unrelenting rage. And where can we find this shelter, but in Jesus? He interposes the might of His intercession: "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." His prayers are our victory. Jesus shields us, too, by giving the shield of faith. He is the author and finisher of this grace. Against this all the fiery darts of the wicked are powerless. They touch it, only to be quenched. The sprinkling of His blood is also an impregnable security. Satan sees this and trembles. It is mail which he cannot pierce. This is the one experience of the Church of the firstborn. They are all sorely pressed, but they are more than conquerors, for they overcome by the blood of the Lamb. Thus the evil one touches not the shielded ones of Jesus. The pleasures, too, the luxuries, the honours of high station beat down their countless victims. None can withstand them in human strength. And none can be vanquished, who have the Lord for their breastplate. Moses was tried by their most seductive craft. He might have sat next to the king in royal state. But he "endured, as seeing Him who is invisible." And being dead, he tells us, how to drive back this wily troop of fascinations. Man's frown and persecution's threat give deadly wounds. All this fury affrighted Daniel and the captive youths. The tyrant's wrath, the burning fiery furnace, the den of raging beasts gaped menacingly on them. But they fled to the Lord. He was their Shield, and they were unharmed in spirit, and in body. Moreover, the Zion-ward path is in the face of batteries, from which hosts of cares and anxieties pour down their envenomed darts. "This God is our God forever and ever, He will be our guide even unto death." The soul is surely cased in peace, when it is folded in the arms of Jesus.

(Dean Law.)

Luther was once asked, "Where would you find safety if the Elector of Saxony were to desert you?" He replied, "Under the shield of heaven." God has engaged to preserve His loving, trusting, and obedient people "from all evil"; therefore, as we abide under His protection, we may be "safe from fear of evil." "If God be for us, who can be against us?" A good man once had a poisoned cup given him to drink; but the cup fell, its contents were spilled, and the wicked design was frustrated. "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them."

What a shield God is to His people, and how effectually He can preserve us from all enemies, evils or dangers. When Protestant Holland was almost conquered by Spain, in answer to prayer, God caused the Romish foe to be driven back by the flooding of the country. Lady Huntingdon accepted an invitation to Brussels in 1786, where it was represented she might do much good. On her journey to London she was, however, so detained, that she received letters from the Continent warning her that on her arrival it was intended to put her to death as a heretic and a successful opponent of Romish ignorance and superstition. The Popish nobleman who had invited her dropped down dead on the very day her ladyship had started for London. She ever regarded her delay, etc., as a gracious interposition of Providence in her behalf. And thy exceeding great reward: —

How God is His people's great reward. —


1. Nothing on earth can be their reward. The glistering of the world dazzles men's eyes; but, like the apples of Sodom, it doth not so much delight as delude.

2. Heaven itself is not a saint's reward: "Whom have I in heaven but Thee?" (Psalm 73:25).

II. HOW IS GOD HIS PEOPLE'S REWARD? In bestowing Himself upon them. The great blessing of the covenant is, "I am thy God." But how doth God give Himself to His people? Is not His essence incommunicable? True, the saints cannot partake of God's very essence; the riches of the Deity are too great to be received in specie. But the saints shall have all in God, that may be for their comfort: they shall partake so much of God's likeness, His love, His influence, and irradiations of His glory (1 John 3:2; John 17:26, 22), as doth astonish and fill the vessels of mercy, that they run over with joy.

III. HOW GOD COMES TO BE HIS PEOPLE'S REWARD. Through Jesus Christ; His blood, being "the blood of God," hath merited this glorious reward for them (Acts 20:28).


1. God is "a satisfying reward." "I am God Almighty" (Genesis 17:1): the word for Almighty signifies "Him that hath sufficiency." God is a whole ocean of blessedness; which while the soul is bathing in, it cries out in a Divine ecstasy, "I have enough." Here is fulness, but no surfeit: "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness" (Psalm 17:15).

2. God is "a suitable reward." The soul, being spiritual, must have something homogeneal and suitable to make it happy; and that is God. Light is not more suitable to the eye, nor melody to the ear, than God is to the soul.

3. God is "a pleasant reward." He is the quintessence of delight, all beauty and love. To be feeding upon the thoughts of God is delicious: "My meditation of Him shall be sweet (Psalm 104:34).

4. God is "a transcendent reward." The painter," going" to take the picture of Helena, not being able to draw her beauty to the life, drew her face covered with a veil. So, when we speak of God's excellences, we must draw a veil. He is so super eminent a reward, as that we cannot set Him forth in all His regency and magnificence.

5. God is "an infinite reward." And being infinite, these two things follow:(1) This reward cannot come to us by way of merit. Can we merit God? Can finite creatures merit an infinite reward?(2) God being an infinite reward, there can be no defect or scantiness in it. "There is no want in that which is infinite." Some may ask, "Is God sufficient for every individual saint?" Yes; if the sun, which is but a finite creature, disperseth its light to the universe, then much more God, who is infinite, distributes glory to the whole number of the elect.

6. God is "an honourable reward." Honour is the height of men's ambition. Alas! worldly honour is but a "pleasing fancy." Honour hath oft a speedy burial: but to enjoy God is the head of honour.

7. God is "an everlasting reward." Mortality is the disgrace of all earthly things. They are in their fruition surfeiting, and in their duration dying; they are like the metal that glass is made of, which, when it shines brightest, is nearest melting: but God is an eternal reward. Eternity cannot be measured by years, jubilees, ages, nor the most slow motion of the eighth sphere. Eternity makes glory weighty: "This God is our God forever and ever" (Psalm 48:14).INFORMATION.

1. Hence it is evident, that it is lawful to look to the future reward. God is our reward; is it not lawful to look to Him?

2. If God be such an exceeding great reward, then it is Hot in vain to engage in His service.

3. See the egregious folly of such as refuse God. "Israel would none of Me" (Psalm 81:11). Is it usual to refuse rewards?

4. If God be such an immense reward, then see how little cause the saints have to fear death. Are men afraid to receive rewards? There is no way to live but by dying.EXHORTATION.

1. Believe this reward. Look not upon it as a platonic idea or fancy. Sensualists question this reward, because they do not see it: they may as well question the verity of their souls, because, being spirits, they cannot be seen. Where should our faith rest, but upon a Divine testimony?

2. If God be such an exceeding great reward, let us endeavour that He may be our reward. "God, even our own God, shall bless us" (Psalm 67:6). He who can pronounce this Shibboleth, "my God," is the happiest man alive.

3. Live every day in the contemplation of this reward. Be in the altitudes. Think what God hath "prepared for them that love Him!" O that our thoughts could ascend!

4. This may content God's people: though they have but little oil in the cruse, and their estates are almost boiled away to nothing, their great reward is yet to come. Though your pension be but small, your portion is large. If God be yours by deed of gift, this may rock your hearts quiet.

5. If God be so great a reward, let such as have an interest in Him be cheerful. God loves a sanguine complexion: cheerfulness credits religion.

6. If God be an exceeding great reward, let such as have hope in Him long for possession. Though it should not be irksome to us to stay here to do service, yet we should have a holy "longing" till the portion comes into our hand. This is a temper becoming a Christian — content to live, desirous to die (Philippians 1:23-25).

7. Let such as have God for their exceeding great reward, be living organs of God's praise. "Thou art my God, and I will praise Thee" (Psalm 118:28).CONSOLATION. Will God Himself be His people's reward? This may be as bezoar stone, to revive and comfort them.

1. In cases of losses. They have lost their livings and promotions for conscience' sake! but as long as God lives, their reward is not lost (Hebrews 10:34).

2. It is comfort in case of persecution. The saints' reward will abundantly compensate all their sufferings. TERROR TO THE WICKED. Here is a Gorgon's head to affright them. They shall have a reward, but vastly different from the godly. All the plagues in the Bible are their reward: "Destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity" (Proverbs 10:29). God is their rewarder, but not their reward. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). They who did the devil's work, will tremble to receive their wages.

(T. Watson, M. A.)

Dionysius caused musicians to play before him, and promised them a good reward. When they came for their reward, he told them they had already had it in their hopes of it. God does not disappoint His servants. Christ says, "My reward is with Me."

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Abram, Amorites, Canaanites, Eliezer, Girgashite, Girgashites, Hittites, Jebusites, Kadmonites, Kenites, Kenizzites, Perizzites, Rephaites
Damascus, Egypt, Euphrates River, Ur, Valley of Shaveh
Arranged, Bird, Birds, Cut, Cutting, Didn't, Divide, Divided, Fellow, Half, Halves, However, Laid, Middle, Midst, Opposite, Piece, Putteth, Putting, Separateth, Taketh
1. God encourages Abram, who asks for an heir.
4. God promises him a son, and a multiplying of his seed.
6. Abram is justified by faith.
7. Canaan is promised again,
9. and confirmed by a sign, and a vision,
18. prophetic of the condition of his posterity till brought out of Egypt.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 15:10

     1657   numbers, fractions
     4612   birds
     5372   knife
     5571   surgery

Genesis 15:1-21

     5076   Abraham, life of

Genesis 15:7-21

     7258   promised land, early history

Genesis 15:9-10

     4681   ram

Genesis 15:9-18

     1346   covenants, nature of

Genesis 15:9-21

     1348   covenant, with Abraham
     5467   promises, divine

God's Covenant with Abram
'And He brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and He said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness. And He said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? And He said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Justification by Faith --Illustrated by Abram's Righteousness
Referring to the chapter before us for a preface to our subject, note that after Abram's calling his faith proved to be of the most practical kind. Being called to separate himself from his kindred and from his country, he did not therefore become a recluse, a man of ascetic habits, or a sentimentalist, unfit for the battles of ordinary life--no; but in the noblest style of true manliness he showed himself able to endure the household trouble and the public trial which awaited him. Lot's herdsmen
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 14: 1868

Our Status.
"And he believed in the Lord: and he counted it to him for righteousness." --Gen. xv. 6. The right touches a man's status. So long as the law has not proven him guilty, has not convicted and sentenced him, his legal status is that of a free and law-abiding citizen. But as soon as his guilt is proven in court and the jury has convicted him, he passes from that into the status of the bound and law-breaking citizen. The same applies to our relation to God. Our status before God is that either of the
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Kate Lee's Secret
Of Kate Lee General Bramwell Booth writes, 'She was one of those conquering souls who seldom look like a conqueror. She presented an extraordinary contrast. She was weak, and yet she was strong. She was poor, and yet she was one of the richest. She was intensely human, with many of the most marked limitations which belong to the human, and yet she was in an extraordinary degree spiritual, yes, even divine.' These contrasts were clear to all and puzzling to many. Not a few people both in and outside
Minnie L. Carpenter—The Angel Adjutant of "Twice Born Men"

God's People in the Furnace
And the first observation I shall make will be this: all persons in the furnace of affliction are not chosen. The text says, "I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction," and it implies that there may be, and there doubtless are, some in the furnace who are not chosen. How many persons there are who suppose that because they are tried, afflicted, and tempted, therefore they are the children of God, whereas they are no such thing. It is a great truth that every child of God is afflicted; but
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 1: 1855

Evil Thoughts.
19th Sunday after Trinity. S. Matt. ix. 4. "Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?" INTRODUCTION.--Thoughts are only thoughts! who is to beheld accountable for them? They are clouds blown about by fancy, taking various shapes. God is not so hard as to judge us for our thoughts; He will try us by what we have done, not by what we have dreamed. No garden is without weeds; there are tares in every cornfield. Who speak thus? Is it those who are conscientious and scrupulous to drive away evil thoughts?
S. Baring-Gould—The Village Pulpit, Volume II. Trinity to Advent

The Purification of the virgin and the Presentation in the Temple
FOREMOST amongst those who, wondering, had heard what the shepherds told, was she whom most it concerned, who laid it up deepest in her heart, and brought to it treasured stores of memory. It was the Mother of Jesus. These many months, all connected with this Child could never have been far away form her thoughts. And now that He was hers yet not hers - belonged, yet did not seem to belong, to her - He would be the more dear to her Mother-heart for what made Him so near, and yet parted Him so far
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Covenanting Performed in Former Ages with Approbation from Above.
That the Lord gave special token of his approbation of the exercise of Covenanting, it belongs to this place to show. His approval of the duty was seen when he unfolded the promises of the Everlasting Covenant to his people, while they endeavoured to perform it; and his approval thereof is continually seen in his fulfilment to them of these promises. The special manifestations of his regard, made to them while attending to the service before him, belonged to one or other, or both, of those exhibitions
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

Letter xxxv. From Pope Damasus.
Damasus addresses five questions to Jerome with a request for information concerning them. They are: 1. What is the meaning of the words "Whosoever slayeth Cain vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold"? (Gen. iv. 5.) 2. If God has made all things good, how comes it that He gives charge to Noah concerning unclean animals, and says to Peter, "What God hath cleansed that call not thou common"? (Acts x. 15.) 3. How is Gen. xv. 16, "in the fourth generation they shall come hither again," to be reconciled
St. Jerome—The Principal Works of St. Jerome

Letter xxxvi. To Pope Damasus.
Jerome's reply to the foregoing. For the second and fourth questions he refers Damasus to the writings of Tertullian, Novatian, and Origen. The remaining three he deals with in detail. Gen. iv. 15, he understands to mean "the slayer of Cain shall complete the sevenfold vengeance which is to be wreaked upon him." Exodus xiii. 18, he proposes to reconcile with Gen. xv. 16, by supposing that in the one place the tribe of Levi is referred to, in the other the tribe of Judah. He suggests, however, that
St. Jerome—The Principal Works of St. Jerome

Palestine Eighteen Centuries Ago
Eighteen and a half centuries ago, and the land which now lies desolate--its bare, grey hills looking into ill-tilled or neglected valleys, its timber cut down, its olive- and vine-clad terraces crumbled into dust, its villages stricken with poverty and squalor, its thoroughfares insecure and deserted, its native population well-nigh gone, and with them its industry, wealth, and strength--presented a scene of beauty, richness, and busy life almost unsurpassed in the then known world. The Rabbis never
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

A Sight of the Crowned Christ
(Revelation, Chapter i.) "Since mine eyes were fixed on Jesus, I've lost sight of all beside, So enchained my spirit's vision, Looking at the Crucified." "The Lord Christ passed my humble cot: I knew him, yet I knew him not; But as I oft had done before, I hurried through my narrow door To touch His garment's hem. "He drew me to a place apart From curious crowd and noisy mart; And as I sat there at His feet I caught the thrill of His heart-beat Beyond His garment's hem. "Rare was the bread He broke
by S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks on the Crowned Christ of Revelation

He Severely Reproves Abaelard for Scrutinizing Rashly and Impiously, and Extenuating the Power Of, the Secret Things of God.
He severely reproves Abaelard for scrutinizing rashly and impiously, and extenuating the power of, the secret things of God. 17. This is the righteousness of man in the blood of the Redeemer: which this son of perdition, by his scoffs and insinuations, is attempting to render vain; so much so, that he thinks and argues that the whole fact that the Lord of Glory emptied Himself, that He was made lower than the angels, that He was born of a woman, that He lived in the world, that He made trial of our
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Parable of the Importunate Widow.
^C Luke XVIII. 1-8. ^c 1 And he spake a parable unto them to the end that they ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 saying, There was in a city a judge, who feared not God, and regarded not man [an utterly abandoned character]: 3 and there was a widow in that city; and she came oft unto him, saying, Avenge me of [rather, Do justice to me as to] mine adversary. [In Scripture language widowhood is symbolic of defenselessness (Ex. xxii. 22-24; Deut. x. 18; xxvii. 19; Mal. iii. 5; Mark xii. 40),
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Meditations to Stir us up to Morning Prayer.
1. If, when thou art about to pray, Satan shall suggest that thy prayers are too long, and that therefore it were better either to omit prayers, or else to cut them shorter, meditate that prayer is thy spiritual sacrifice, wherewith God is well pleased (Heb. xiii. 15, 16;) and therefore it is so displeasing to the devil, and so irksome to the flesh. Bend therefore thy affections (will they, nill they) to so holy an exercise; assuring thyself, that it doth by so much the more please God, by how much
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

The Blessings of Noah Upon Shem and Japheth. (Gen. Ix. 18-27. )
Ver. 20. "And Noah began and became an husbandman, and planted vineyards."--This does not imply that Noah was the first who began to till the ground, and, more especially, to cultivate the vine; for Cain, too, was a tiller of the ground, Gen. iv. 2. The sense rather is, that Noah, after the flood, again took up this calling. Moreover, the remark has not an independent import; it serves only to prepare the way for the communication of the subsequent account of Noah's drunkenness. By this remark,
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Meditations for Household Piety.
1. If thou be called to the government of a family, thou must not hold it sufficient to serve God and live uprightly in thy own person, unless thou cause all under thy charge to do the same with thee. For the performance of this duty God was so well pleased with Abraham, that he would not hide from him his counsel: "For," saith God, "I know him that he will command his sons and his household after him that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and judgment, that the Lord may bring upon
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

The First Chaldaean Empire and the Hyksos in Egypt
Syria: the part played by it in the ancient world--Babylon and the first Chaldaean empire--The dominion of the Hyksos: Ahmosis. Some countries seem destined from their origin to become the battle-fields of the contending nations which environ them. Into such regions, and to their cost, neighbouring peoples come from century to century to settle their quarrels and bring to an issue the questions of supremacy which disturb their little corner of the world. The nations around are eager for the possession
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 4

The Prophet Joel.
PRELIMINARY REMARKS. The position which has been assigned to Joel in the collection of the Minor Prophets, furnishes an external argument for the determination of the time at which Joel wrote. There cannot be any doubt that the Collectors were guided by a consideration of the chronology. The circumstance, that they placed the prophecies of Joel just between the two prophets who, according to the inscriptions and contents of their prophecies, belonged to the time of Jeroboam and Uzziah, is
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Its Evidence
In Romans 3:28 the Apostle Paul declared "that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law," and then produces the case of Abraham to prove his assertion. But the Apostle James, from the case of the same Abraham, draws quite another conclusion, saying, "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" (James 2:24). This is one of the "contradictions in the Bible" to which infidels appeal in support of their unbelief. But the Christian, however difficult he finds
Arthur W. Pink—The Doctrine of Justification

Moses and his Writings
[Illustration: (drop cap W) Clay letter tablet of Moses' time.] We now begin to understand a little of the very beginning of God's Book--of the times in which it was written, the materials used by its first author, and the different kinds of writing from which he had to choose; but we must go a step farther. How much did Moses know about the history of his forefathers, Abraham and Jacob, and of all the old nations and kings mentioned in Genesis, before God called him to the great work of writing
Mildred Duff—The Bible in its Making

The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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