Genesis 17:1 NLT
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai-
‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.
Today we begin our new series, ‘God Calls You By Name’. Our text is Genesis 17 where two ‘first mention’ principles are introduced. First mention means that this is the first time a particular concept is seen in the Bible and therefore it is the clearest representation of that concept.
The two first mention principles are:
God is called El Shaddai, the LORD God Almighty
The covenant of circumcision is established
Abram’s age is recorded for a reason
For today’s blog, we will focus on verse one. Our verse begins by noting Abram’s age which is very important. Abram, which means ‘exalted father’ is ninety nine years old (1). Numbers in Hebrew all contain symbolism. The number 90 is Tzaddi and defined as the righteousness of God, a devout man (2). The number 9 is Tet and is defined as fullness of blessings (2). By understanding the meaning of names and numbers, we are told that Abram is the exalted father of his family who is in right standing with God and is devout in his faith.
The Lord appeared!
‘The Lord appeared’ is a phrase that is recorded 35 times in the King James version of the Bible. It precedes an action of God such as speaking to someone in a dream or vision, or pronouncing a warning or a judgement. When there is an acceleration of divine activity, ‘the Lord appears’ and something big is about to happen.
Genesis 17 is the first mention in the Bible of El Shaddai. This title is found 48 times in the King James. God reveals Himself to Abram as God Almighty or more accurately ‘the One Who is limitless in power’. He is preparing Abram for the impossible to happen.
What does blameless mean?
And here is the key that allows God to intervene as El Shaddai; serve me faithfully and live blamelessly. The actual Hebrew says ‘walk before Me and be blameless.’ The phrase ‘walk before me’ is defined as living a lifestyle that is wholesome, unimpaired, innocent, and integrous (3). How do you walk blamelessly? By removing anything in your heart and life that takes the place of God.
1 John 5:21 Amplified,
Little children, guard yourselves from idols-- [false teachings, moral compromises, and anything that would take the place of God in your hearts.]
Abram has purged idols from his heart before
This is not the first time Abram had to check his heart for idols. In the past, he was forced to ask Lot to leave his household. Lot was the closest thing to a son he ever had up to that point. Abram was tossed out of Egypt because he treasured his own life over Sarai’s. Realizing his weakness of greed, he tithed to Melchizedek to cleanse himself of materialism and covetousness. As needs change in the seasons of our lives, opportunities for compromise reveal the condition of our hearts. God is making sure that He is first place in Abram’s life.
Time for an idol check
Before a major move of God, it is necessary for an idol check. What pleasure consumes our day and what are the motivations behind it? Our days are usually filled with food, entertainment, family, career, social media, shopping, etc… We must ask ourselves, does God really take first place in our hearts or is He an afterthought?
How to walk blamelessly
When we read and study God’s word, meditate on it, and apply it to our everyday lives, then God is absolutely first! Then we can walk blameless before Him because there is no desire for compromise. Our inclinations will be wholesome, unimpaired, innocent and integrous. As we purge the idols, God moves on our lives and displays His limitless power on our behalf.
Father, You know me better than I know myself. Bring to my awareness anything that has taken first place in my heart. I am sorry and repent of wrong priorities. Give me the grace to make You my priority and everything else will fall into its proper place. I thank You for moving on my behalf as El Shaddai, the LORD God Almighty. I love You. In Jesus name, Amen.
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