Last summer I read a tantalizing article with this thought, plus a question for its readers.
“A lifetime without seeing a reward….”
Tremendous thought today from ______, based on Malachi 3:13. In his full page of meditations, he says, “The reluctant say that it is “futile” to serve Him. There is no “gain” in keeping His commands, Malachi 3:14,15. These people believe religion ought to pay big dividends now. It ought to bring great rewards immediately. The general feeling is that folks surely will not serve God for nothing, Job 1:9. In spite of that sentiment, the faithful may live a lifetime without seeing a reward, Hebrews 11:13.”
Focus question: When it seems there’s no advantage to faith, what’s wrong with my thinking?
New Testament encouragement does not promise earthly rewards for obedience, and if the Old Testament were given for our schoolmaster, why don’t we read to find answers there?
Even without consulting a concordance, we can remember details of God’s promises to Abraham along with Abraham’s faithfulness and belief in the Father and his promises—without doubting.
What about Job and his resolute affirmation, “I have not sinned?” Was God his defender? Who proved to be right about Job’s affliction, Job or the friends?
There are two Psalms I don’t like to read – by Heman and one other like him, considered to be wise compared to Solomon. They don’t have any hope throughout the entire Psalm. This may not be a necessary study, but here are some references in case you want to check who these men are (1 Chr. 2:4-6; 1 Chr. 15:16-19).
Those who claim there is no reward from God seem to forget that all their ‘blessings’ or ‘rewards’ come from the one they despise (Psa. 73:1-28). They fail to see they are not plagued like others. Therefore, they are blinded – willingly so – and give credit to their own hands for all the good God gives them (see also Sennacharib, etc.).
Second, God put more joy in David’s heart than the others when their wine and oil were increased (Psa. 4:7). Note also from where David’s reward came (Psa. 19:7-11). Paul’s joy (of which he boasted) was in seeing himself growing in the image of Christ – for an eternal reward in the here and now. Actually, all the other joys that could come on Judgment Day pale in comparison to the fact that we are getting the major reward right now, through trials and tribulation, in which we grow in the image of Christ, the image of the Divine Nature (if we are indeed growing).
We are saved by hope, and if there is no ‘evidence’ of eternal reward here, it could make one wonder if there is any hope.
Yet, we still see hope and a grand lesson in Abraham’s promises and his not setting foot on the soil he was promised.
● Acts 7:5—Abraham didn’t inherit enough to put his foot on
5 And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.
● Genesis 28:4—Abraham did walk in the land he was to inherit
4 And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Jesus, nor Paul, saw their reward in this life, but they acknowledged that the resurrection was THE proof that they and we will inherit!