1When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. 2Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” 3Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, 4“As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. 5No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. 6I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you (Genesis17:1-6).
God revealed Himself to Abraham by a new name, El Shaddai, translated as God Almighty in the New International Version, the first use of this name of God in the Scriptures. El Shaddai describes God as the One who makes things happen using his majestic power and might. El signifies the strong one, and Shaddai means the Breasted One. We should not think God is saying that He has female body parts; it is a word picture of God as the Strong-Nourisher, the Strength-Giver, Satisfier, and All-Bountiful, the Supplier of all the needs of His people. Yes, He is the one who can restore life and fruitfulness to Abraham and Sarah and cause them to have a child and fulfill every one of His promises to them and to us too.
There is a condition to the promise, though. Abraham must walk before the Lord and be Tamiym, translated into English with the word “blameless” (v. 1). Tamiym means to be complete, without defect, faultless, blameless, and having integrity. God has been watching the character of this man change as the Lord has been working in his life, transforming Abraham to be one whose heart is blameless toward Him. He requires the same of those who trust in Christ. Jesus said, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).
God tells him also that he will be a father of many nations and that kings will come from him (verses 5-6). What amazing promises God gave to Abraham and us also as His children. Those who have entered into the blood covenant that Messiah initiated must walk before the Lord in purity and blamelessness. Do not let this world conform you into its image of godlessness and evil. Walking blamelessly before the Lord sounds difficult, almost as difficult as Jesus' command to "be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect." How can we fulfill this command? We see elsewhere in the Scriptures where Micah the prophet also revealed what God requires of man:
“He has showed you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
We need God’s help—the One called El Shaddai. By faith, we must cast ourselves on Him, being vulnerable and crying out to Him to empower and enable us. He will do it. He does not ask us to rely on our resources but His resources. What do you need El Shaddai to do for you—what prayer do you need to ask God today? He is listening and waiting for your cry. Keith Thomas