“When Avram was 99 years old Adonai appeared to Avram and said to him, “I am El Shaddai [God Almighty]. Walk in my presence and be pure-hearted“” (Gen 17:1, CJB).
With everything we are witnessing around the world today it is hard to keep our thoughts from drifting; maybe even to unhealthy places. The Book of Genesis retells a number of historical event at a very fast pace. We can miss a great deal when we read it quickly and in a single session, especially if it is our first time reading it. Think about it, Avram (Abram) was 86 years old in Gen 16:16 – when Yishma’el (Ishmael) was born. The very next sentence begins with “When Avram was 99 years old”. An entire 13 years exist between these two sentences. Yishma’el is now a teenager and the charge leveled against him by Sarai in the previous chapter is fresh in our minds:
“It was after Avram had lived ten years in the land of Kena‘an that Sarai Avram’s wife took Hagar the Egyptian, her slave-girl, and gave her to Avram her husband to be his wife. Avram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she conceived. But when she became aware that she was pregnant, she looked on her mistress with contempt. Sarai said to Avram, “This outrage being done to me is your fault! True, I gave my slave-girl to you to sleep with; but when she saw that she was pregnant, she began holding me in contempt. May Adonai decide who is right — I or you!”” (Gen 16:3-5).
We don’t know what took place in the Patriarch’s household during those 13 years but we can probably assume there were some turbulence given the above scripture and – if you read on – what happened after. Still, Avram was about to enter a new phase of his life at a vibrant age of 99. God was about to change his name from Avram [exalted father] to Avraham (Abraham) [father of many] and establish a covenant between Him and Avraham, but not before telling him to, “Walk in my presence and be pure-hearted”. Nothing in the text suggests that Avraham was not pure-hearted but he was about to enter a higher calling to be the father of a people through whom God would call the nations to Himself.
So What’s the point? This chaotic world may be moving at breakneck speed around us and we may find ourselves moving from controversy to controversy. Through all of it, we must remember to be pure-hearted because we walk in God’s presence. The moment we enter into a relationship with God, through Yeshua (Jesus) his Son, we enter a new phase of life and a higher calling.
“[I]f indeed you have heard Him and were taught in Him, as the truth is in Yeshua. With respect to your former lifestyle, you are to lay aside the old self corrupted by its deceitful desires, be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self—created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:21-24).
Walk in Gods presence and be pure-hearted!