"Walk Before Me"
God's promises are wonderful, and he is able to fulfill them.

By Jon W. Quinn
"I am God Almighty;
Walk before Me, and be blameless.”

In a fallen world, life sometimes seems like a race of endurance. When God spoke the words above to Abraham, it had been about 25 years now that he had lived in Canaan, having been directed by God to leave Haran and go to "a place I will show you." There had been the promise first given so many years ago (Genesis 12:1-3). Then, the promise had been renewed (Genesis 15:1-5). The promise had been to bless Abraham with many descendants and to ultimately make these descendants into a great nation, and then to bless the whole world through one of them.

But Abraham and Sarah have gotten older. Perhaps God meant to fulfill His promise through Abraham’s servant, Eliezer. No. It would be through Abraham and Sarah, even though that was so unlikely to happen considering their advanced ages.

Of course, Abraham does finally have a son, Ishmael, by Hagar, Sarai's handmaiden. This arrangement, though Sarah's idea, led to trouble. Perhaps this would be the way God fulfills His promise to Abraham! Again, no. It would not be through Ishmael that the blessings of the covenant would be fulfilled. Rather it would be through aged Sarah’s yet to be conceived child.

Of course, the promise is fulfilled, both physically and spiritually, for Abraham's descendants through sons Ishmael and Isaac do incorporate many, many nations. Then, beyond that, there are the spiritual children of God, those with faith like Abraham's faith born into God's family through Jesus Christ, also a descendant of Abraham (Galatians 3:26-29). These we find today scattered throughout the nations of the world.

The Promise to Abraham
What we have in Genesis 17 is the renewal of that original promise made about 13 years after the last renewal of the original one made many years before. Abraham, while faithful, has been rather impatient. He is now 99 years old. Several points are made in this passage (Genesis 17:1-7).

First, God changes Abram's ("high father") name to Abraham ("a father of many").

Second, Sarah will be the mother (Genesis 17:15-16).

Third, there is the power that will make all this happen. It is "God Almighty" .

If God promises something, be sure of it! God makes no promise He cannot or will not keep. (2 Corinthians 1:18-20). The best promise of all is that He will freely give us eternal life if we trust and abide in Him by faith (Romans 6:23).

God Almighty
The Hebrew word translated into “God Almighty” in Genesis 17:1 is “El Shaddai”. Jehovah, in using this name with which to identify Himself, reveals Himself as a God of power. "El Shaddai" - "The God who controls nature and subdues it." This name is used to refer to God only 6 times in the book of Genesis. The point here to Abraham is this: It does not matter at all to God that Abraham is 99 and Sarah is 90. They are going to have a child.

If we think it is too wonderful of a promise to possible be true, we have under-estimated God's power. Do not let doubt find a home in your heart! Remember the Creator and His power (by the way, both Abraham and Sarah had to fight this battle in their own hearts - GEN 17:17-19; 18:10-15). As difficult as it was to believe, because God said it, Abraham believed it. He did have a problem with the "how" God might do it; perhaps through Eliezer the servant or Hagar the handmaid; but he never doubted that God would succeed in His promise (Romans 4:16-21

Face to Face
Abraham’s response to “God Almighty” needed to be, in God’s words, to "walk before Me" (Genesis 17:1). The Hebrew word used here is panyim and means "the face". This same term as used in the 10 commandments: "Have no other gods before Me". It would mean that Abraham is to “live out your life's day's beholding ‘my face’ and the commandment would demand "Let no other gods get between My face and your face".

That's exactly how the tragedy of falling away from God begins. It is a process of letting things get in between us. God should fill up our lives; His character and love for us, His power to fulfill His good and gracious promises; His providence and grace… an awareness and acknowledgement of these things is how we behold the face of God… or "walk before
Him". We see the glory of God in Christ Jesus as we walk by His gospel (2 Corinthians 4:6; Colossians 1:10-12).

Nor do we allow anything to come between us and the face of God. We do not need distance here; we need close fellowship with "God Almighty". In fact, we have instructions given to those who have done so (James 4:7-10) Can one find their way back? Yes! (James 4:6).

"I am God Almighty;
Walk before Me, and be blameless.” (Genesis 17:1)

Now, how will it be so that God will consider me blameless? Again, just as He did with Abraham. He counted Abraham's faith as righteousness. That is where Abraham found grace. That is where we find it as well (Romans 4:22-25). God Almighty calls. Will you hear Him? Will you walk before Him? And by His grace, will you be found blameless?


From The Bradley Banner 3/11/2012
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway
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