WALK BEFORE ME AND BE PERFECT
Hagar had now given birth to Ishmael and he was 13 years old when God appeared to Abram again after the covenant made in chapter 16. Chapter 17 reads “And when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, “I am the Almighty God, walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face and God talked with him saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham, for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou and thy seed after thee,in their generations. This is my covenant which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee, Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a token of the covenant between me and you ….And as for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her; yea I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her….And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed and thou shalt call his name Isaac, and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant , and with his seed after him…..But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. (Genesis 17: 1-11, 15, 16, 19, 21).
Hagar called the LORD that spake unto her in the wilderness as God-that-sees and the well where the encounter occurred was called Beerlahairoi, meaning the LORD that sees me. The verses that are in this chapter were well detailed and explained probably because of what happened in chapter 16. The very first statement from God to Abram when he appeared to him was “I am the Almighty God, walk before me and be thou perfect” This was the first time He introduced Himself as Almighty God, which means I am All in All, I am All you need, I am very powerful and great God, I have the power to do all things and on and on. God was refocusing Abram to Himself, and to the covenant He made with him earlier. He was more or less telling him that Abram drifted away from Him for taking the step he took to satisfy Sarai, his wife. That step did not bring honor to Him (God) because Ishmael was not a miracle child. God wanted to do something supernatural, something that nobody could explain between Abram and Sarai. something that proves that there is no one like Him that could do such a thing. God saw the helplessness of Hagar when her mistress turned her to be a wife. Of course naturally this young girl would easily carry a child because the LORD had blessed a man and a woman to procreate. or be fruitful and multiply. But Sarai had ceased to function in all that are needed in a woman’s body to conceive. So God was waiting for His own time to make what is naturally impossible to be possible.
Therefore for going ahead of Him to bring Ishmael to the world is a sign of not trusting in the God that appeared to Him and made a covenant with him. Thus he committed sin which they had to pay for in their struggle to live together in a peaceful atmosphere. But God is a merciful God which forgives sin, because He knows our frame. He now commanded him to walk before him with a perfect heart. He should know that He is the One that have been walking with Him ever since He took him from Haran, and that He has the power to do the impossible. Therefore he should not allow his flesh to use him anymore. He does not want him to contaminate himself anymore because that is what sin does. His mercy that rules over judgment overlooked this sin again and now detailed the covenant between Him and Abram. God changed his name to Abraham and his wife’s name to Sarah. With these names, the LORD was preparing them to see themselves as God sees them, and that was father and mother of nations. Each time they called themselves these names, they were proclaiming the completed work of God in their lives and God provided a token to the covenant and that was circumcision of the foreskin of a male child. Now the LORD gave them a date when this would happen and also the name the son from Sarah would be called (Isaac).
I hope the events in this chapter had taught you some lessons as it did to me. God is God that sees all things. There is nothing that is not covered by His watchful eyes (God-that-sees). Whatever He promises He fulfills. God is the Only Powerful God that “Nothing is impossible for Him to do.”. He does things in His own ways which totally proves Him to be God, and nobody can question Him. Also we need to know that the way God sees us is quite different from the way we see ourselves. Many of us give up on ourselves while God has not even started with us. Many people give negative names to other people while what God has in His record is great and positive names. As we are walking through this Genesis, God desires us to know Him and His nature or characteristics and learn to depend on Him. We also see the result of taking a step outside God’s will. Who knows may be that’s why God was silent for 13 years before appearing to Abram again? If that’s the reason why, then it means sin delays blessing.
Brothers and sisters, we do have God that is capable of putting our negative pasts behind us, and moving us to a better future. The LORD will help us this year to develop unshakable faith in this our walk with Him. Every promise of God that you are holding on to will materialize this year in Jesus name. Amen. May the Grace of God be multiplied over us all in Jesus name, Amen.