“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, ‘I am the Almighty God, walk before me and be perfect.’” Genesis 17:1 KJV
What does God want? He wants to walk with us. This is what Genesis 17:1 tells us. Thirteen years had elapsed between the end of chapter 16 and the beginning of chapter 17. Thirteen years in which there is no report of any interchange between Yahweh and Abraham. If indeed there was none, what a relief this encounter must have been to Abraham. It was not all over; God had not abandoned him.
And what does God say? “Walk in my presence and be all you were meant to be.” Is that what it says, you say? Well, not precisely. What it says is “… and be perfect.” But I didn’t think you would want to hear that. NIV says “…be blameless,” which to our reformation-conditioned ears says “be forensically innocent while living in sin.” But that is not what tammîm connotes. It means to be whole, complete. So a “perfect” lamb was not necessarily a show lamb, but it was one that was a whole lamb, all that a lamb was supposed to be.
So what was Yahweh saying? He was saying that if Abraham would enter into an on-going relationship with him, he, Yahweh, would see to it that Abraham would become all that a human could be reasonably expected to be. Wow!
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