Joseph Prince - Don't Be Afraid, God is Your Shield
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This is an excerpt from: Answers For Dark Nights And Difficult Seasons
Now, even for us Word of faith people and we Word of grace people, we who are filled up with the Holy Spirit right now, we are excited. We have partaken of the Lord's Supper. We have received from the Lord, amen? You just took the Lord's Supper, right? Amen. You have people that are tithing like where Abraham was, he received Communion. He tithed as love, as thanksgiving to the Lord. And then you should think that he's in good place, right?
The very next chapter it says, "After these things", in chapter 15, verse 1 comes after Genesis 14, which is where Melchizedek met him. He has partaken of the Lord's Supper. He has responded to the Lord. The Lord has spoken the words that he's blessed. "Blessed be Abram of the Most High God". He's in a very good place. This is Abraham after the conference. And the Lord says, "After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, 'Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield". If it's a vision, that means it's a vision of a shield, magen in Hebrew. Magen, magen is like a shield, and it's not just a shield like a Roman soldier has a shield in front, it's a shield that is all around. It's a shield that's all around. "I am your shield, and your exceedingly great reward". This Hebrew word, "your exceedingly great reward" is the word, "reward" here is the word they use for salary, amen?
Now, we know that he has just tithed, right? So, I'm not just saying that it's because of the tithe, I'm not saying that, but what I'm saying is that the Lord wants his eyes to be opened two things. Number one, don't be afraid. Now, why would Abram be afraid after a great mountaintop experience, after a great experience that, you know, it's a conference? Why should he be afraid? Well, he just conquered four generals and their armies. Come on. He got back, not just Lot, a lot of spoils, and the victory was given to him by the Lord. Now, he's thinking maybe, you know, how many of you have moments whereby, you know, you're praying for the sick, and great things happen, and wonderful things happen and bang, all of a sudden, you know, in the middle of the night, you start thinking to yourself, "Whoa, what if the devil counterattacks, and I've served the Lord, what if, what if"? Come on, have you been there before?
So, probably Abram was tossing and turning thinking, "The enemies are coming, the generals are coming. What am I gonna do"? And that's why the word, the first word is, "Don't be afraid". Al-tirah, al-tirah in Hebrew, "Don't be afraid". And the word came to him in a vision form, it's a shield. See yourself surrounded with a shield. At night when you're under attack, you can't sleep, see yourself safe. See yourself surrounded by a shield, surrounded with songs of deliverance. Job says, "Where are the people that would say, where are they, literally, where are they who would say, Where is God my maker who gives songs in the night"? Songwriters, it tells you clearly in the Bible, God gives songs in the night, also, the night seasons.
Now, when I talk about night here, I'm not just referring to the night seasons alone. It can be your night, literally the greatest problem you have, the greatest challenges are at night. Maybe you can't sleep well, this message is for you. "What is happening? Why nighttime is so severe for me? Why is it so depressive? Why is this so hard for me to sleep"? That's for you as well, literally your own night. You know, there are seven nights, night scenes in the Book of John, exactly seven no more. Each one has a significance. The very first night scene, Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. And the fifth one, by the way, Judas betrayed Jesus in the upper room. And the Bible says Judah left the upper room and it was night. Whenever you turn your back on Jesus, it's night, very significant, very telling. Seven mentions of nights in the gospel of John alone.
So, here Abraham is experiencing, and I know he's tossing and turning. How do I know that? Because later on God told him, "Abram, come out and count the stars, or see if you can tell the story of the stars". Remember that? Same scene, so I know he was tossing and turning, he can't sleep. Doesn't say that God gave him a dream. It says the Lord, the Word of the Lord came in a vision. He was lying down there, he can't sleep. So, now as Abram's seed, as sons and daughters of Abram, remember this when you can't sleep, see the shield. Sheep cannot rest when they are insecure, amen? And feel secure, don't be afraid, al-tirah. Tell yourself, don't be afraid. The Lord is a shied unto you. "But I've spent so much". He's your exceedingly great reward, not just reward, not just great reward, exceedingly great reward, like the land flowing with milk and honey. One translation says very, very good land. Literally in the Hebrew, exceedingly good land. God doesn't stinch on you, amen? It's not just a good land, it's not just a good reward. It's exceedingly great reward.