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…
On the occasion of this gracious manifestation, God was pleased to do for Abram what I think is to us an admirable and instructive illustration of the consecration of our redeemed spirit,, entirely to His service.
I. First, then, let us notice in the words of God to Abram, THE MODEL OF THE SANCTIFIED OR CONSECRATED LIFE. Here it is: "I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect."
1. For a man to be thoroughly sanctified to the Master's service, he must first realize the almightines and all-sufficiency and glory of God.
2. True holiness is a walking before God. The saint feels that he must not, dare not, transgress, because he is before the very face of God.
3. The next words are, "and be thou perfect." Does this mean absolute perfection? Freely I do admit that the model of sanctification is perfection.
II. Secondly, THE NATURE OF THIS CONSECRATION as illustrated in this chapter.
1. Genuine spiritual consecration begins with communion with God. Note the third verse — "Abraham fell on his face, and God talked with him." By looking at Christ Jesus, His image is photographed upon our mind, and we are changed from glory to glory, as by the presence of the Lord.
2. The next point in the nature of this consecration is that it is fostered by enlarged views of the covenant grace. "As for Me, behold My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations."
3. Note, in reading these words, how this covenant is revealed to Abram peculiarly as a work of Divine power. Note the run of the passage, "I will make My covenant between Me and thee." "I will make thee fruitful." "I will establish My covenant." "I will give unto thee." "I will be thy God," and so on. Oh! those glorious "wills" and "shalls." Ye cannot serve the Lord with a perfect heart until first your faith gets a grip of the Divine "wills" and "shalls."
4. Further, Abraham had a view of the covenant in its everlastingness. I do not remember that the word "everlasting" had been used before in reference to that covenant, but in this chapter we have it over and over again. "I will establish My covenant for an everlasting covenant." Here is one of those grand truths which many of the babes in grace have not as yet learned, namely, that the blessings of grace are blessings not given today to be taken back tomorrow, but eternal blessings.
5. In considering the nature of this consecration, I would observe next, that they who are consecrated to God are regarded as new men. The new manhood is indicated by the change of name — he is called no longer Abram, but Abraham, and his wife no longer Sarai, but Sarah. Ye are new creatures in Christ Jesus.
6. Note further that the nature of this consecration was set forth to Abraham by the rite of circumcision. Taking away the filthiness of the flesh.
III. THE RESULTS OF SUCH A CONSECRATING.
1. Immediately after God's appearing to Abraham his consecration was manifest, first, in his prayer for his family. "O that Ishmael might live before Thee!" Men of God, if you are indeed the Lord's, and feel that you are His, begin now to intercede for all who belong to you.
2. The next result of Abraham's consecration was, that he was most hospitable to his fellow men. Look at the next chapter. He sits at the tent door, and three men come to him. The Christian is the best servant of humanity in a spiritual sense. I mean that for his Master's sake he endeavours to do good to the sons of men.
3. The third result was, Abraham entertained the Lord Himself, for amongst those three angels who came to his house was the King of kings, the Infinite One. Every believer who serves his God doth, as it were, give refreshment to the Divine mind. I mean this, God took an infinite delight in the work of His dear Son. He said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," and He takes a delight also in the holiness of all His people.
4. Once more, Abraham became the great intercessor for others. The next chapter is full of his pleadings for Sodom. If we do but become consecrated to God, thoroughly so, as I have attempted feebly to describe, we shall become mighty with God in our pleadings.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
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.