Nov. 5, 2020

Pastor Gerald D.A. Murphy on Genesis 15:1 – “God is Our Reward”

Pastor Gerald D.A. Murphy is Mark’s very special guest on the podcast today. Gerald received his Master’s Degree in Christian History and Theology from Ashland Theological Seminary, and he currently serves as the Director of Community Development with Catalyst For Columbus, and is the Pastor of the Columbus Dream Center. The passage he has chosen to discuss with Mark is Genesis 15:1.

Gerald begins by sharing his summary of the passage, its meaning for him, and the notion of how God wants to be understood by humanity which he finds within it. He and Mark then explore the significance of God telling Abraham not to be afraid and choosing stars as an analogy for the number of his children, as well as Abraham’s challenge to God and how it relates to us choosing to bring our doubts to God. They also examine Abraham’s reward of his covenant relationship with God, and how Martin Luther King internalized this passage. Gerald concludes the discussion by sharing the lessons he has learned about humankind, which leads to a further discussion regarding what many people expect about having a relationship with God. As you listen in today, you will quickly discover that Gerald has much to teach us all as he turns his formidable analysis to this ‘awesome passage of Genesis 15:1 and the existential questions that follow’.

Episode Highlights:

  • · Gerald’s summary of the passage and its meaning for him
  • · How God wants to be understood by humanity
  • · The significance of God telling Abraham to not be afraid
  • · Abraham challenging God
  • · Choosing to bring doubt to God
  • · God choosing stars as an analogy for the number of Abraham’s children
  • · Abraham’s reward of his covenant relationship with God
  • · How Martin Luther King internalized this passage
  • · The lessons about humankind that Gerald has learned
  • · What many people expect about a relationship with God


“God, He actually defines Himself, He names Himself.”

“God wanted…to be known as Abraham’s shield, his defense, and as his exceedingly great reward, and I believe it’s profound to consider out of all of the characteristics, out of all of the attributes, of God, those were the two that he chose to bring Abraham into the understanding of first.”

“The prohibition against fear is the most frequently uttered thing in the Torah.”

“God seems to want the challenge.”

“Bring Me the challenge. Bring Me the doubt.”

“When you truly have faith in God, you’re not fearing any man.”

“When God becomes your reward, you can have contentment.”

“The hope was there even if he wasn’t going to see the fulfillment of it.”

“You cannot have a Torah without Moses.”

“This idea of God being the reward, I think, is so pervasive in the scriptures and, you know, the Word, and it’s just something that grounds us and it’s something that can really become an anchor for how we approach life.”

“The true mark of a great person, or really a good person, is that they will die with their work unfinished.”

“When God’s our reward, that courage, that fearlessness will absolutely be there.”

“There is an unceasing desire that we have to earn what has been freely given to us in our relationship with God.”

“Responding to God and worship is a lot more natural than I believe most would consider it to be.”

“We see from the beginning that it’s always been Him initiating relationship with us.”

Genesis 15:1 Some time later, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision. He said, “Fear not, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.”


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