GUIDE. Day 25 of Lent. Walk on.
They named him Moses of all things. This chocolate Labrador puppy with paws like a bear. And I met him when I was taking a jog one evening and he was crisscrossing the path of his owner as Bill tried desperately to get the puppy to walk on ahead. But Moses was curious and energetic, tugging on his lead one moment only to hit the brakes the next and stubbornly hold back and dig in with his nose to the ground. His owner would have to tug him along, sometimes picking him up, untangling the leash and putting him out before him again to walk ahead. Moses the puppy was ecstatic to go on a walk but he hadn’t learned how to take a walk yet, that first meeting his owner, Bill, told me they both needed some help.
The next week when I saw Moses he was linked in tandem with an older dog, learning what ‘walking’ was all about side by side with the mature Lab. By the next week Moses was back on his own leash walking independently with the older dog and his owner, Bill, being gently guided by the leash but obedient to the direction they were headed and the pace as he kept in stride with the older dog.
Watching Moses learn to walk came as an object lesson as the Lord gave me this verse:
I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. Gen 17:1
My response initial response to this call was, what?
Wait, Lord. I thought I was to follow you, my Good Shepherd using prayer and God’s word and the accountability of fellowship with Christian friends. Following after Him was what I knew. But I also knew I was prone to wander. . . do you have that problem?
I would sometimes just get off track, fall behind, get lost even, and Jesus through the Holy Spirit would use the good ol’ rod & staff to ‘comfort’ me (ie Impart strength through discipline) or at times He’d gather me up into his arms and have to carry me like Moses the puppy. Jesus had always been so good. So good at finding me and calling me back and I knew He’d promised to never leave me and that means I could never wander too far- there was an end to the leash, so to speak. And there was suddenly an end to following behind Him because God’s response was Yes.
Walk before me and be blameless.
I thought of Moses the puppy. I looked back at the verse and yoked myself to it so I would understand what this new call meant.
Genesis 17 begins after thirteen years with no conversation recorded between God and Abram. Then in verse 1, God appeared to Abram and reintroduces Himself with a new name. GOD ALMIGHTY. The Hebrew El Shaddai which means the God who pours out what we need, the God who is sufficient, all-competent, the adequate God who knows what He is doing and how to do it.
Ray Steadman states, “It seems God tells Abram, You have been learning for thirteen years the total inadequacy of your own efforts through Ishmael. Now it’s time to learn a new thing about me. I am El Shaddai. You have discovered by sad experience how futile your plans and efforts can be without me. Now learn how capable I am to do everything that I desire to do, whenever I desire to do it.”
God Almighty. El Shaddai. The all-powerful, all-sufficient God reveals himself to us as totally in charge and sufficient for whatever we are going through right now. Even if we’re coming out of a 13 year wander walk of self-sufficiency that’s birthed the bitterness of an Ishmael of failure, God is still capable to teach us a new way to go about life with Him. And His word to us is a surprising call out of the silence of letting us wander our own way–Walk before me and be blameless.
This is an invitation to remember and rest in God’s omnipotence. He is Almighty God. All things are possible to Him. He rules over all. All His power is working for those who trust Him. And all He asks of His servant is that he shall be perfect/blameless with Him.
The root meaning of the word blameless is wholehearted.
Walk before me and be perfect, wholehearted, God says, because I am El Shaddai. I am all-sufficient to make you blameless. Walk before Me, therefore, and be blameless.
This invitation is first to remember and rest in God’s sufficiency and then give Him our whole heart, our perfect/complete confidence. God Almighty with all His power is wholly for us, so therefore be wholly for God.
We wander because our hearts are constantly being divided trying to serve two masters, to please self and Christ. We are content to sit the fence- to serve Christ if we can also serve self at the same time. But God says, this can no longer be permitted.
The folly of you following and dividing your attention, wandering and becoming lost in the impotency of self-sufficiency has come to a dead-end, your dual allegiance can no longer be tolerated if you are to grow. Walk now before Me, appropriating what I am, and be wholehearted, be wholly on my side, be mine!
I often say when we first become a Christian we recognize Jesus as our loving savior, a friend to sinners but you keep making decisions on the basis of how you feel and what you want to do because we don’t know Him very well yet. As we grow in Him we come to call him Jesus Christ, understanding fuller what He appropriated for us, we realize we’re essentially different than we were before. But at some point we recognizing the right of Jesus Christ to be Lord of our lives and His name becomes the Lord Jesus Christ. His willingness to save us involved His right to rule us. Now the Holy Spirit begins to assert the lordship of Christ in your life and you live more for Him and less for self.
Walk before me. Don’t think being called to perfection/wholeheartedness means a call to understand first the way you should walk. No, God’s way is the very opposite of this. Abraham went out, not knowing where he was going. We are called to walk on in faith abiding in Christ and we will be shown the way to go.
So walk on ahead wholeheartedly Christian.
Let your spirit be filled with His power: I am God Almighty.
Let your life be spent in His presence: walk before him wholeheartedly.
“For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.” —Psalm 48:14
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6