In my detective investigation this past week, I ran across what the SPORTS WORLD defines as POWER:
“THE ABILITY to exert a maximal force in as short a time as possible, as in accelerating, jumping and throwing implements”.
STRENGTH, on the other hand, is defined in the athletic environment as…
“THE ABILITY to generate as much force as possible with NO CONCERN for the factor of time”.
THE BIBLE’S EXPLANATIONS:c
Years ago, my young son came up to me after I just walked into the house after work. “Hey dad, do you want to play some catch outside (throw a baseball back and forth)?” I said “Sure we can but I will need to do a few things first, like get a cup of coffee and relax for a while.” He says, “THEN will you play with me?” And I say, “Yes, of course”. For him it seems like an eternity to wait, but he trusts in my promise to play with him because I said so. He believes in me because… I am a person who has the authority to make such a promise and also the POWER to fulfill it. Multiply this POWER and authority to keep a promise by ten thousand and you would not even be close to the POWER OF GOD has to keep His promises to you.
TEXT: GENESIS 15:1-6 (NASB):
 AFTER THESE things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying “Do not fear, Abram. I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.”  And Abram said, “O Lord God, what will Thou give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”  And Abram said, “Since Thous has given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.”  The behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.”  And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”  Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”
(verse 1, NLT) – “the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision” (or “the Word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision – NASB).
This is the first VISION is mentioned in the Bible. This was not a DREAM. Abram was awake, and the vision continued all day and into the night, as the Word of the Lord appeared to him. Also, it is the first time the WORD OF THE LORD is mentioned. It says the Lord said, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you” (NLT) or (“I am your shield” – NASB), “and your reward will be great.”
The Great Promise – PROTECTION and REWARD:
Every need taken care of is promised and the Lord actually calls Abram by His name. This is a very personal conversation and Abram was obviously afraid.
When you are afraid and someone says, “DON’T BE AFRAID”, I don’t know about you but I want it to be by someone who has the MUSCLES and AUTHORITY before I am going to feel secure. And God has the MUSCLES to do it!
When God says, “Don’t be afraid!”, then I don’t need to be afraid! Every preacher loves to mention that there are 365 times in the Bible God says, Do not be afraid!”, one for each day of the year:
“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully]” (1 Peter 5:7 AMP).
“Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice” (Isaiah 41:10 AMP).
THE APOSTLE PAUL speaks of Armour in Ephesians 6; speaks about the SHIELD OF FAITH. Each piece of the Armour is JESUS Himself protecting us.
PSALMS 18:1-2 says it this way:
“I LOVE you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (NIV).
Also, look at the word in Proverbs 30:5:
“Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him” (NASB).
How good is that? To be SHIELDED BY GOD HIMSELF.
ASSURANCE IS GIVEN BUT…
You’d think Abram would be content and say, “Yes Lord, anything you say.” BUT instead he says, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son?” (Gen. 15:2 NLT).
It’s About Relationship!
ABRAHAM must have a great relationship with God to speak to Him like this, but that’s the way it is with God. He welcomes our questions. Abram asks God a lot of questions. I like this.
He also sees God as SOVEREIGN LORD. God can do anything He wants to do and seeing this, Abram wants to co-operate with His purposes.
As my relationship with my Heavenly Father grows and to know Him as being my Sovereign Lord, then I want to submit myself; be subject to Him more and more: Lord, I want to co-operate with your sovereign purposes in my life today!”
“REWARDS”–DESCENDANTS ON DISPLAY (Genesis 15:5 AMP):
“And He brought him outside [his tent into the starlight] and said, Look now toward the heavens and count the stars–if you are able to number them. The He said to him, So shall your descendants be.”
One of those descendants was JESUS Himself.
When Abram believed God to give him descendants, he was believing that through him, ALL the nations of the world would be blessed (Genesis 12:3).
Now I found a striking contrast between ADAM and ABRAM in the Bible:
ADAM – The father of ALL MEN — ABRAM – The “father of ALL of them that BELIEVE” (Romans 4:11).
ADAM had a FIG LEAF — but ABRAM had a SHIELD.
ADAM received a curse — ABRAM a REWARD!
And For the BELIEVER…
Christ is both protection from all harm (“muscle power on display”) and provision for all our needs (“muscle power” continuously on display!). He is also our “exceedingly great [literally ‘abundant’] reward” (verse 1).
Genesis 15:6 is an Amazing Verse to study!
“Abram believed the Lord and He credited it to him as righteousness” (NIV Bible).
“And he [Abram] believed in (trusted in, relied on, remained steadfast to) the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness (right standing with God)” (AMPLIFIED Bible).
“And he believed! Believed in God! God declared him “Set-Right-with-God” (The MESSAGE Bible).
“…the Lord counted him as righteous because of his FAITH” (NLT Bible).
So, there you have four different translations of the same Bible verse, virtually saying the same thing.
There it is again in Scripture…FAITH:
From the beginning there is only one way to get right with God–BELIEVING IN HIM with a wholehearted trust in Him and in His promises (His Word).
When it says it was “COUNTED to Abram as righteousness,” the word “COUNTED” is a banking term. When Abram deposited his FAITH in the vaults of God by believing in Him with his whole heart (his heart, mind, and soul–his whole being), GOD CREDITED RIGHTEOUSNESS to his account. God counted him “righteous”.
For me, this transaction took place on August 16th, 1972, for I always remember or record my deposits. It was when I BELIEVED in Jesus alone for my salvation. I EXCHANGED MY SIN FOR HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!
A Message for The Church–
God Bless you Church as you believe and trust the One who has POWER and AUTHORITY to keep the promises He makes for us each day by His Word.