Abraham and Infertility part 2 - the very great reward

Read part 1 here

After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?”  And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.”  He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
 (Genesis 15:1-6, NIV)

God appears to Abraham in a vision with two great promises - that He is Abraham's shield and his very great reward. What better protection can you have than the creator of the universe, and what greater reward than God himself?

But everything is tied up in infertility for Abraham. How can there be talk of a “very great reward” when he has got no one to carry on the family line?

God is gracious. He doesn’t rebuke Abraham for letting infertility dominate his vision. He restates his promise that Abraham will have a son and Abraham believes him. Which is faith. Abraham takes God at his word and God counts it as righteousness. His behaviour has not changed here, Abraham will try to take matters into his own hands later. He has simply received the promise of God and believed. 

The promise that we needed to hear from God in this passage is not that we would have children, it is that we are given THE child, Abraham's offspring, Jesus. Jesus is our very great reward. The good news is not that we get something from God but that we get God! In Jesus' life, death and resurrection, in the forgiveness and acceptance and transformation that He brings, God has given us the best possible gift. There is nothing better he can give. There’s nothing better that he’s withholding. 

In the midst of infertility it often felt like he was withholding something better, but God slowly and graciously began to show us that He is our very great reward.