THE PATH TO PERFECTION
1 And 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.
2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
The Call of the Imperfect
God said here to Abram, “walk before me, and be thou perfect.” That might suggest that Abram was not perfect at the time God was speaking thus with him. If he were already “perfect” in whatever sense God meant, it would have been unnecessary to still say that he would become what he already was. That may further suggest that God does not expect one to have been “perfect” before they come to Him. That would mean that God will accept us as we come, but will not leave us the way we came; which means that for each one God calls, He has a vision of where He is taking them to: the place of perfection. That is as Jesus often said to those He called:“Follow me, and I will make you…” (Matthew 4:19). Each one is made by whom they follow. Everyone reflects the image they admire.
The Making Process
The ‘making’ is usually a process of the ‘following.’ They lose their making process who cease to follow. Each one is made by whom they follow. The same thing God said to Abram: “Walk before me, and be thou perfect,”which means, “Follow Me, and I will make you.” Never follow whom you do not wish to resemble. Do not continue on the path whose destination you would not wish to arrive at. Even when we might not know the end, sometimes the signs along the route tell the discerning and sincere, what the end would be.
You don’t need to be perfect before coming to God, but consistently walking with Him will get you to that destination of perfection. Anyone who wants to be perfect should maintain a relationship with God. Perfection is a destination, not a certificate on the wall. Every perfection comes from a consistent walk. The ‘perfect’ athlete would certainly have been one who had been sustaining their regular exercise ‘walks’; the ‘perfect’ physician would not be the one who ran out of school because one exam was tough; the ‘perfect’ climber or footballer will tall you how many bruises they have endured to get there which is still a transition to the ultimate perfect place. Perfection comes from sustaining the walk with God.
…Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9).
The Walk and the Talk
Apparently as a consequence of verse 1, God speaks further in verses 2 and 3. Verse 1 gives the call to walk with God; verse 2 offers the promise in sustaining the walk with Him. In verse 3 we find the relationship established through the walk, as God “talked” with the man He had invited for a walk. What that says to me is this: nobody talks with who does not walk with them. If you want God to talk with you, then walk with Him. We find an example in the New Testament; it was the confession of two disciples who had been walking with Jesus on the road from Jerusalem:
And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? (Luke 24:32).
Relationship or Encounter?
Jesus spoke with those who were on a walk with Him. God does not talk with those who do not walk with Him. He might talk to them, but not with them. God spoke to Nebuchadnezzar in a dream; God to spoke to Pharaoh too. To speak ‘to’ does not mean the same as to speak ‘with’ (which means conversation and relationship), or to speak ‘through’ (which further suggest prophetic delegation or messaging through that trusted partners. Of Moses, for example, we read: “…In the day that the LORD spake with Moses in mount Sinai” (Numbers 3:1). God spoke ‘with’ Abraham as a friend (Genesis 18:17-23); God spoke ‘with’ Moses (Exodus 8:5; 34:43); God spoke ‘through’ Moses, sending him as a prophet to Pharaoh and to the people of Israel (Exodus 9:1). Levels or relationship.
What do you want? A relationship or an encounter? That God should speak ‘to’ you or ‘with’ you? When He speaks to you, He merely gives information and goes off. When He speaks with you, He sustains a conversation, opening His heart to you as you also open your heart to Him. Then you talk heart-to-heart. That is fellowship, not just encounter, but it all starts with agreeing to walk with Him.
God has Got a Heart Too
God also has feelings; He also enjoys relationship. He called Abraham a friend (James 2:23); He kept periodic evening appointments with the first humans, stopping by to check on them (Genesis 3:8). He was grieved at the moral decline that befell the first world: “…and it grieved him at his heart” (Genesis 6:6). God has got a heart, too; and He feels. One man walked with Him so well that God could not stand missing him anymore and simply came down to take him away so they could continue the walk there: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him (Genesis 5:24). Welcome to the walk of life, the walk for life.
Your Partner, Your Destination
You cannot walk with two people at the same time who are going in opposite directions. Nobody can perfectly serve two masters and fully satisfy both (Matthew 6:24). Walking with God means not going in the opposite direction; it means not walking at the same time with anyone going in the opposite direction from Him. So, walking with God could involve the sacrifice of other relationships in the opposite direction from His path. If you walk with someone, they dictate your pace, they dictate your paths, they dictate your stops. On such a walk, you might not be free to stop and shop where you would have wished; you might not be free to try the alternative routes or short cuts that you would have preferred. To keep steps with them, you might have to walk faster or more slowly. If they are walking with you, you dictate their pace; if you are walking with them, they are in charge. Whom you walk with determines not only your pace and your path;, they also determine your destination.
- The call (verse 1)
- The covenant (verse 2)
- The conversation (verse 3).
The destination is assured if you are sure of whom you are walking with. Who determines your direction determines your destination. God talks with those who walk with Him. He does not call the perfect, but perfects those He calls. Welcome to the walk of life.
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him (Genesis 5:24).
From The Preacher’s diary,
April 7, 2019.