Walking Perfectly Before God

Genesis 17:1-141And 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. 2And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 3And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 4As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 7And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. 8And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. 9And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 10This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 12And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. 13He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant. (Genesis 17:1‑14)
God did not give Abram up even though he had failed. If He gave us up when we fail, where would any of us be? Even though He has to let us feel the results of our mis­takes, yet His love never changes.
God said to Abram, “Walk before Me, and be thou perfect.” Abram had not been walking before God when he became the father of Ishmael. It is so easy for any of us to walk before others, trying to please them instead of putting the Lord first. God would have us to be conscious of being in His presence at all times.
In the Presence of God
Some years ago there was a young man who really loved the Lord Jesus, and tried to please Him at his work. The other men did not like his quiet, living testimony day by day and tried to get him to do things which would spoil it. One day a number of them made a circle around him, and then when he could not get away, they told one of their bad stories. Then they all started to laugh, but he did not join with them in their sinful laughter. He knew the Scrip­ture which says, “Fools make a mock at sin,” and so he remained quiet and sober. At last one of the men said, “Laugh, John.” His simple reply was, “Men, I live in the presence of God.” This made them all ashamed, and they soon left him. They did not want to be in the presence of God. If you are un­saved, dear reader, you, too, are afraid of meeting God, but if you will come to Him now, just as you are, He will save you, and His perfect love will cast out all fear.
When God spoke, Abram fell on his face before Him. There is always a reverence which is appropriate when we are in the presence of God. That is why we should close our eyes, and if possible, kneel down when we talk to God in prayer. It is very displeasing to the Lord to talk or whisper during prayer at Sunday School, in meetings, or at any time when others are praying.
The True Meaning of Ordinances
In order to confirm His covenant, God told Abram, now called Abraham, that every man child was to be circumcised. Circumcision was the sign of death, and it was to keep fresh in the mind of Abraham as well as his children after him, that the only ground of blessing was, and still is, through death. All this pointed on to the death of Christ. The children of Israel soon began to give great impor­tance to circumcision as an ordinance but lost its true meaning. Then God had to say that their “circumcision is made uncircumcision” (Romans 2:2525For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. (Romans 2:25)). It became only an empty form to them.
Professing Christendom has done much the same today with the two Christian ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s supper. God’s Word makes it very clear that these ordinances cannot save anyone’s soul. They cannot give life to one who is “dead in trespasses and sins.” Only faith in Christ and His finished work can do that. Nor are they necessary to salvation, for the thief on the cross went to be with the Lord, even though he was never baptiz­ed. Many dear Christians, too, have never partaken of the Lord’s supper. These ordinances are, however, precious Christian privileges, when their true meaning is laid hold of by faith from God’s blessed Word. If you are not saved, dear young reader, remember that nothing but living faith in Christ can save you.
Further Meditation
1. How did God confirm His covenant with Abraham?
3. If you’re looking to learn a little about circumcision, then the article in the Concise Bible Dictionary by G. Morrish is a good place to start. You can read it at bibletruthlibrary.org by doing a library search for Article Number 80698.