Walk before me, and be thou perfect.
'And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, tho Lord appeared unto Abram, and said unto him, I am Almighty God: walk before Me, and be thou perfect. And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him.'—Gen. xvii. 1-3.
'Thou shall le perfect with tho Lord thy God.' Deut. xviii. 13.
'Let your heart be perfect with the Lord our God to walk in His statutes.'—1 Kings viii. CI.
XT was now twenty-four years since God had -°- called Abram to go out from his father's home, and that he had obeyed. All that time he had been a learner in the school of faith. The time was approaching for him to inherit the promise, and God comes to establish His covenant with him. In view of this, God meets him with this threefold word: I am Almighty God: walk before Me: bo thou perfect.
Be thou perfect. The connection in which we find, the word will help us to understand its meaning. God reveals Himself as God Almighty. Abram's faith had long been tried: it was about to achieve one of its greatest triumphs: faith was to be changed to vision in the birth of Isaac. God invites Abram more than ever to remember, and to rest upon, His omnipotence. Ho is Almighty God: all things are possible to Him: He holds rule over all. All His power is working for those who trust Him. And all Ho asks of His servant is that he shall be perfect with Him: give Him his whole heart, his perfect confidence. God Almighty with all His power is wholly for thee; be thou wholly for God. The knowledge and faith of what God is lies at the root of what we are to be: '/ am Almighty God: be thou perfect' As I know Him whoso Power fills heaven and earth, I see that this is the one thing needed: to bo perfect with Him, wholly and entirely given up to Him. Wholly Fob God is the keynote of perfection.
Walk before Me, and be thou perfect. It is in the life fellowship with God, in His realised presence and favour, that it becomes possible to be perfect with Him. Walk before Me: Abraham had been doing this; God's word calls him to a clearer and more conscious apprehension of this as his life calling. It is easy for us to study what Scripture says of perfection, to form our ideas of it, and argue for them. But let us remember that it is only as we are walking closely with God, seeking and in some measure attaining, uninterrupted communion with Him, that the Divine command will come to us in its Divine Power, and unfold to us its Divine meaning. Walk before Me, and be thou perfect. God's realised presence is the school, is the secret, of perfection. It is only he who studies what perfection is in the full light of God's presence to whom its hidden glory will be opened up.
That realised presence is the great blessing of the redemption in Jesus Christ. The veil has been rent, the way into the true sanctuary, the Presence of God, has been opened; we have access with boldness into the Holiest of all. God, who has proved Himself God Almighty in raising Jesus from the dead and setting Him, and us in Him, at His right hand, speaks now to us: I am God Almighty: walk before Me, and be thou perfect.
That command came not only to Abraham. Moses gave it to the whole people of Israel: 'Thou slialt be perfect with the Lord thy God.' It is for all Abraham's children; for all the Israel of God; for every believer. Oh! think not that ere you can obey you must first understand and define what perfection means. No, God's way is the very opposite of this. Abraham went out, not knowing whither he went. Thou art called to go on to perfection: go out, not knowing whither thou goest. It is a land God will show thee. Let thy heart be filled with His glory: I am God Almighty. Let thy life be spent in His presence: walk before Mo. As His Power and His Presence rest upon thee and fill thee, thy heart will, ere thou knowest, be drawn up, and strengthened to accept and rejoice in and fulfil the command: be thou perfect. As surely as the opening bud has but to abide in the light of the sun to attain perfection, will the soul that walks in the light of God bo perfect too. As the God, who is All, shines upon it, it cannot but rejoice to give Him All.