Observe here, I. The time when God made this treaty with Abram: After these things. 1. After that famous act of generous charity which Abram had done, in rescuing his friends and neighbours out of distress, and that, not for price nor reward. After this, God made him this gracious visit. Note, Those that show favour to men shall find favour with God. 2. After that victory which he had obtained over four kings. Lest Abram should be too much elevated and pleased with that, God comes to him, to tell him he had better things in store for him. Note, A believing converse with spiritual blessings is an excellent means to keep us from being too much taken up with temporal enjoyments. The gifts of common providence are not comparable to those of covenant love.
II. The manner in which God conversed with Abram: The word of the Lord came unto Abram (that is, God manifested himself and his will to Abram) in a vision, which supposes Abram awake, and some visible appearances of the Shechinah, or some sensible token of the presence of the divine glory. Note, The methods of divine revelation are adapted to our state in a world of sense.
III. The gracious assurance God gave him of his favour to him.
1. He called him by name—Abram, which was a great honour to him, and made his name great, and was also a great encouragement and assistance to his faith. Note, God’s good word does us good when it is spoken by his Spirit to us in particular, and brought to our hearts. The word says, Ho, every one (Isa. 55:1), the Spirit says, Ho, such a one.
2. He cautioned him against being disquieted and confounded: Fear not, Abram. Abram might fear lest the four kings he had routed should rally again, and fall upon him to his ruin: “No,” says God, “Fear not. Fear not their revenges, nor thy neighbour’s envy; I will take care of thee.” Note, (1.) Where there is great faith, yet there may be many fears, 2 Cor. 7:5. (2.) God takes cognizance of his people’s fears though ever so secret, and knows their souls, Ps. 31:7. (3.) It is the will of God that his people should not give way to prevailing fears, whatever happens. Let the sinners in Sion be afraid, but fear not, Abram.
3. He assured him of safety and happiness, that he should for ever be, (1.) As safe as God himself could keep him: I am thy shield, or, somewhat more emphatically, I am a shield to thee, present with thee, actually caring for thee. See 1 Chron. 17:24. Not only the God of Israel, but a God to Israel. Note, The consideration of this, that God himself is, and will be, a shield to his people to secure them from all destructive evils, a shield ready to them and a shield round about them, should be sufficient to silence all their perplexing tormenting fears. (2.) As happy as God himself could make him: I will be thy exceedingly great reward; not only thy rewarder, but thy reward. Abram had generously refused the rewards which the king of Sodom offered him, and here God comes, and tells him he shall be no loser by it. Note, [1.] The rewards of believing obedience and self-denial are exceedingly great, 1 Cor. 2:9. [2.] God himself is the chosen and promised felicity of holy souls—chosen in this world, promised in a better. He is the portion of their inheritance and their cup.