2014 is in full swing. The holidays no longer hold sway. It is time to engage the new year. I am ready for it, and dare I say, even excited for what will take place. Marriage looms on the horizon in March. The old will pass away and the new will come. In fact, the new life of marriage already breaks into the present as Charity and me plan the joining of our finances, the joining of our lives as one. We engage in something of the mystery of marriage even during our engagement.
Before anyone gets the impression that she and I have joined together, we will not move into the same place until after our wedding. We believe in maintaining our purity toward each other as outlined in God’s word. That being said, Charity and I are joining our lives together right this minute. Each and every decision about preparing a future budget, and what the wedding ceremony is to be like, and where to spend the next holiday season, requires us to come together, to unite as one over these decisions.
Call it either preparation for the life to come, or experiencing glimpses into the near future, the fact remains that something of our future takes place in the present. Both Charity and I know that our Heavenly Father brought us together by his sovereign grace. It is the key reason for us moving forward as one. These thoughts and more come to mind as does the following verse: “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: ‘Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great'” (Genesis 15:1, ESV).
Let me give a little of the context of that verse in Genesis. In chapter fourteen, the Lord gave Abram victory over his enemies and favor before men as he rescued his nephew, Lot, from the pagan nations. Melchizedek greets and blesses Abram, who turns around and gives him a tenth of all the spoils. This fourteenth chapter shows Abram in step with the Lord, which leads to victory, blessing, and favor before the pagan nations. The last point comes through as the King of Sodom offers Abram a portion of his goods, but Abram refuses and pays homage instead to God.
In light of Abram’s victory and blessing and favor, all of these climax at the end of the fourteenth chapter, it is a curious thing that God instructs Abram against fear at the start of Genesis fifteen. How could a faithful man like Abram be afraid after immense victory, blessing, and favor? Clearly, there was fear otherwise the Lord would not have come to his servant in a vision exhorting him against fear. This keeps me honest.
Both Charity and I have experienced great victory, blessing, and favor in previous situations. We continue experiencing those three qualities; however, Genesis 15:1 speaks loudly this morning. I am not aware of any fear or apprehension about marriage and future life with Charity. There are moments of wonder and speculation about the future. Do those moments have their roots in fear? Even if they do, the hope and truth of Genesis 15:1 is that God will speak and reveal himself to me about the next phase, the next step.
If Abram needed the Lord to speak to him about his fear, then the same is true for me. Just as God blessed and guided Abram to victory over his enemies, this same God desired to bless and guide Abram to victory about his fear. The Lord spoke directly to Abram’s fear, and he promises to do the same in my life. Speak Lord for your servant is listening. May we yield to God’s presence and voice in times of fear even if it does not appear to be visible.