And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me…
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. In what sense are we to take this? None can keep God's law perfectly (Romans 7:23). And why at this point in Abram's history the emphatic "I am?" &c. The character of his life was faith (cf. Hebrews 11:6) resting on the promises made him (Genesis 12:7; Genesis 13:16; Genesis 15:5). The last of these was a special instance of faith. But the triumph was followed by a fall - impatience, would not wait God's time (cf. Psalm 27:14; Psalm 31:15). An instance of a common fault - partial faith (cf. Matthew 4:4; Matthew 14:28-31). The result was disappointment. Thirteen years passed. Must we not connect this with his fault? Want of faith delayed the blessing (cf. Numbers 14:33). Then came the word of the Lord - a gentle rebuke (cf. Matthew 8:26), and a precept: "Walk before me," &c. Return to thy first faith; let it be perfect, not partial (cf. Proverbs 3:5; Matthew 17:20).
I. A LESSON FOR BELIEVERS. Watch lest faith grow cold. Some like not to retain God in their thoughts. They hide themselves from him amid the vanities of the world. But his people, who have known his love (1 John 3:1), why should they ever shrink from opening their whole heart to him? Yet, imperceptibly perhaps, there is a change. The faith is held, but the sunshine is gone. The desire to tell all to God is not there. Why? The man has set his heart upon something, and cannot trust God's love; or he is drawn to something he cannot approve, and listens to what can be said for it (cf. Romans 14:4); or he has fallen into self-sufficiency. Then reserve towards God. The hidden life becomes disordered. No longer the desire that he should know all and guide all. And thus uneasiness, reserve, distance. Then follow plans to quiet the uneasiness - business, ceremony, theology, or work in some other direction. But no real communion with God in all this.
II. THE REMEDY. "Walk before me." Recognize the evil. Believe the cause. Be not faithless. Bear in mind God's presence (cf. Psalm 62:1-7). Seek not to hide from him, or to justify self. And "be perfect," i.e. matured; not in any high or strange attainment, but in that which a child may learn in trusting God's truth and love; in bringing thoughts, wants, and wishes before him. Towards this active obedience and following Christ are means; and, above all, sincerity, and a real definite dedication of the life to God.
III. ENCOURAGEMENT. "I am the Almighty God" - all-powerful (Isaiah 59:1; Luke 1:37) and all-loving (Psalm 37:5; Romans 8:32). This, really believed, would remove anxious care. What is it that leads thee to seek another way? The consciousness of having wandered. Has he not made provision for this? (1 Timothy 1:15; 1 John 2:1). Or is it that the blessing long desired is not given? Some power, some opportunity for God's work, and still the door is closed; or it may be some spiritual gift, some token of growth in grace, and still the evil of thy nature is unsubdued. Be patient (James 1:4). Thy Father in heaven will not fail thee (Romans 6:14). Walk before him. Tell him all that is in thy mind. In his time thou shalt find peace (Philippians 4:6; 1 John 5:4; Revelation 21:7). - M
Parallel VersesKJV: And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.