Before we really appreciate what we have, we often need to experience life without those things. As wealthy Americans (comparited to the world), it is when we visit a ghetto in the Bahamas or Mexico that we fully realize what we have.
The last few verses of Genesis 14, Abram turned down the wealth of Sodom. It was undoubtedly a great reward for the perilous rescue. Genesis is a story marked by God doing things well contrasted with man’s feeble attempts. He takes the cheap tricks of man and does it the right way–His way. The reward of trinkets from sinful men was replaced with a greater reward. In fact, an “exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1).
The voice of God echoes into Abram’s life that He was an exceeding great reward to Abram. In actuality, Abram didn’t miss out on anything when he refused the reward from the king of Sodom. He was blessed with the Great Almighty as His reward.
The inheritance of the Hebrews was not simply land (although that’s part of it in Genesis 15:18). It is God. “The Lord is my portion” (Lamentations 3:24). When the Jews found their identity in the Promised Land, they ignored the God who gave them that land. When they gloried and confided in the Temple, they had contempt for the Presence who glorified the place of worship. When they revered the Law more than the Law-giver, they crucified the Lord. When Abram became fixated on the promise instead of the provider, he went astray. The mistake in Genesis 16 happened because Abram’s focus turned from the Promise Keeper to simply the promise. In God’s time, he changed Abram’s name to Abraham. It took twenty-five years for Abraham to learn his portion was not the son. His portion was God, an exceeding great reward.
God has made many promises, but when we pursue the promise instead of the Prince, we are chasing phantoms. Make God your exceeding great reward and all these things shall be added unto you. One day, the redeemed from every tribe and tongue will surround the throne with praises to sing, but with a newly found reality.
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:5-6).