God promised Abraham to make him a father of many nations but as Abraham and Sarah grew older, they decide that God might need a little help in keeping the promise and Sarah gives her maid Hagar to Abraham as a wife so she can bare him a son…and she does. However, God makes it clear that this child is not the child of the promise. In Chapter 17 of Genesis, God renews His covenant with Abraham. First He identifies Himself as the Almighty God who is all-sufficient to do as He promised. God tells Abraham to walk before Him and be perfect. Have you ever thought about what it would be to walk before God? There is nothing we can hide from God, even if we were to walk behind Him. But to walk before Him means living our life in the full attention and sight of God. It is walking in fellowship with Him. Living life in obedience to Him. It is walking by faith and not by sight. It means living in such as way that there is nothing to hide.
When God told Abraham to be perfect, He was telling Abraham to be an upright, sincere person in heart, in his words, and in his actions and behaviors. Abraham was not sinless. We see this when he informed kings that his wife was his sister so they wouldn’t kill him to be able to have Sarah for themselves. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a perfect person other than Jesus Christ. The Hebrew word used for “perfect” is tamin. It is the same word used to describe Noah in Genesis 6:9. The root meaning of the word is whole, integrated, as one exerts all their energy into one pursuit – in Abraham’s case, that pursuit was to live righteously and blameless before God. He was to be “all-in” to God’s plan. Completely dedicated to His cause. He was not free to live like the Canaanites. He couldn’t absorb himself into their culture. He was to remain separated, set apart, holy. There would be no room for half-hearted service to God. It was all or nothing.
God still calls us, His children, to be set apart and different from the rest of the world. We are to be fully committed to living for Him and fully willing to do whatever He asks of us. Just as God told Abraham, so He tells us today, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me and be thou perfect.”
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