“I Am the Almighty God”
“I am the Almighty God; walk before me and be thou perfect.” (Genesis 17:1)
There are epochs in every great life, and it may be that today will mark the opening of a new epoch in your own life. The text above marks such an epoch for Abraham. Several similar crisis hours had already come in the history of the patriarch. The first was when he left his native land at God’s bidding (Genesis 12:1-4). The second was when he entered Canaan and found it a famine-stricken land of foes (Genesis 12:7). The third was when he separated from Lot and God gave him the promise of all that he had left and much more besides (Genesis 13:14-17). The fourth was when God gave him the promise of a son, perhaps fifteen or twenty years before the present epoch (Genesis 15:1-5). That promise was accompanied with a very wonderful revelation of God and a covenant covering all the future and foreshadowing the blessing of coming ages.
But Abraham had not been altogether true to the high calling which God had given him. He had not doubted God’s promise, and yet he had staggered under its weight enough that some fourteen years before the present conversation he had tried to help God fulfill His promise. Abraham had been persuaded by Sarah to take into his family Hagar, their servant, endeavoring to obtain the promised son through her in the person of Ishmael. In all this God had seen the wavering of a double mind, and now when He appears to Abraham in his hundredth year He very obviously alludes to Abraham’s doubtful attitude by the startling message, which is as much a reproof as it is a promise, “I am El Shaddai—‘the Almighty God’; walk before me and be thou perfect.”
Abraham had not been quite upright in his faith because he had not quite believed in the all-sufficiency of his God. Therefore it was necessary that God should come to him in a new revelation of His power and require from Abraham a new expression of his faith.
It may be that this is just where some of us are standing today. We have been trusting God in part and have been trying to do the other part ourselves, and God is speaking to us by His new and almighty name and saying to us, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me and be thou perfect.”