“Walk Before Me” In Genesis 17:1-2, God appears to Abram when he is 99 years old and says, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” I thought it was interesting how God tells him to “Walk before” Him. That sent me on a search to see if anyone else in the Bible was given this same command. What I found were several people who are known for this very act of walking before the Lord. They are: Enosh (Gen 5:22-24), Noah (Gen 6:9), Abraham (Gen 24:39) and Isaac (Gen 48:15).
What does God mean by walking before Him? I think of when I am walking around with my family. If I am out in front of my wife and family, it is disrespectful to them. Yet, in some cultures the man must walk in front or he is not a respectable man. Does God mean that we are to be out ahead of Him; choosing our own path and going our own way? God also said to Abram, “and be blameless”. What does it mean to be blameless? By the very definition of the word, blameless means to be perfect, lacking nothing or spotless. How am I to be blameless, when there is sin in my life? I know that on my best day, I still have sin. I know that no matter how hard I try, I cannot keep from sinning. You can lock me in an empty room with no windows and blank white walls; I would still sin even in my thoughts. Yet, God appears to Abram and tells him to be blameless, perfect and lacking nothing. Is what God asking of us unreasonable or impossible? Notice what God says of Himself before He gives this high and lofty command. “I am God Almighty”, is His description of Himself. The description of Himself is often acknowledged, but many times forgotten in the midst of our turmoil. El Shaddai is a name to describe this very crucial attribute of God. In order for Abram to keep this command to walk before God and be blameless, it is going to happen only by the all sufficient, all powerful hand of God Himself. Abram must recognize this first and then begin the steps leading to a “walking before Him” relationship with God. Walking before God has nothing to do with you. It can only be done by the power of God Almighty. Any step we take that is not ordained by Him, is a step we take and tremble in reverential fear. Think about what happens when you walk before someone. The person can see everything that you do; right? They can see where you look. They can see the path you take. They might even see what catches your attention. To walk before the Lord, is to have an on-going, transparent relationship with Him. It does not mean that you are leading and are doing your own thing; it simply means that there is nothing to hide. Everything is all out there in front of Him, right where He can see; totally transparent. This is what God required of Abram as well as all those who walk before Him. I like what Psalm 19 says along these same thoughts. Psalm 19:1-6 – “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.” Although the main principle here is that creation alone declares God’s glory, I want you to see what this says of the sun. Notice how “there is nothing hidden from its heat”? This is the essence of a life that is truly walking before
God. Just like the sun and everything on earth is affected by its heat, the commands of the Lord search the heart and the conscience is affected by the “heat” to the point that the soul is revived. Let’s read on, “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” I don’t know about you, but it makes me a little uneasy when someone is walking right behind me. I have a tendency to worry or wonder what might be going on behind me. Not that I am paranoid or anything like that, it’s just that I am not comfortable with walking before someone. Here the Psalmist describes a delight in the ways of the Lord. In fact there is not one oppressive or negative thought mentioned in connection with the Law, testimony, precepts, commandment, fear or rules of the Lord. The Psalmist is not worried or wondering about his relationship with the Lord; he delights in walking before Him. Someone who walks before Him will not view these things as burdensome but rather a pure delight. The reward is not material things like gold and honey; the reward is salvation and spiritual growth. You might be saying to yourself, “Wait! What about being blameless?” We haven’t even talked about that yet. “Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression”, the Psalmist reveals. This is what it takes to be declared blameless: “Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me!” First, we need to understand that we cannot be the discerner of our own sin. We must rely on the law, testimony, precepts, commandment, fear and rules of the Lord to be our standard. Anything less than God’s standard is sin in itself. Secondly, we must realize that God’s standard WILL search out your hidden faults. This is the interceding work of Jesus declaring us innocent. Third, we must be held back from arrogant deliberate sins so that they do not rule over us. You cannot be blameless and innocent of great transgression while living in deliberate rebellion against God’s standard. Finally, whose strength is highlighted in the last few verses? We need El Shaddai to declare us innocent, to keep us back from sin and to let not sin rule over us. It’s only by His power that we can agree with the Psalmist in saying – “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Are you walking before Him?