WORD STUDY – WALK BEFORE ME
Genesis 17:1 “The Lord appeared unto Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God, walk before me and be thou perfect.”
So God makes an appearance to Abram and tells him to walk before Him and be perfect. Just what it means to walk before God is really not clear. Should we not walk with God or perhaps as we walk through life we should walk after God and let him blaze the trail for us? Why walk before Him?
I read in Jewish literature that when a father teaches his child to walk he puts the child before him, stands a few feet away and then with arms spread wide open encourages the child to come to him for a hug. The child will be so anxious to get that hug from his father that he will begin to walk toward him without thinking about the fact he is walking. The walking is a natural instinct but one still must learn to follow it to walk.
This is how the rabbis explain this passage of God telling Abram to walk before Him. He is teaching Abram to walk the righteous walk which leads to the arms of God and a big hug.
Note, the verse says that the Lord appeared unto Abram personally to deliver this message. The word appeared is ra’ah which has the idea of seeing through spiritual eyes. It is also used for a vision. In its Semitic root it has the idea of looking through a window into the supernatural. Hence, in someway Abram was able to actually peer into the supernatural. Another use of the word ra’ah is a seer. A seer is one who peers into the supernatural.
The first thing God says is: “I am God, the almighty.” These words I am are not God’s name YHWH but the word anei which is to say: “I am the genuine item.” He is God, the word here for God is el which is simply an expression of an authority figure, the one you put your trust in for your protection and safety as a child putting his faith in his father. If you put your trust in God Jehovah, you are putting your trust in the shaddai which means to lay to waste, destroy as well as almighty, all powerful. Its Semitic root has the idea of making something straight.
The Jewish sages teach that the word Shaddai is a contraction of two words Sheamar and dai which means:“He who said enough, stop.” Hence the sages often translate this verse as : “I am God the Creator, who said enough, now walk before Me and become perfect.” Perfect in Hebrew is taman which means to be complete or make complete. God’s name Shaddai is in conjunction with creation through the contraction of the two words Sheamar dai. What this means, according to the Jewish sages is that God arrested the creation before it was complete leaving us to complete it. Why would He do this? According to Rabbi Benjamin Blach it is to “…allow man the responsibility of being a partner with Him in the act of Creation.” Did not Jesus tell us “Greater things than these shall you do?” (John 14:12).
You see, what the sages are trying to teach us through this passage in Genesis is that God placed a responsibility on us to continue His creation, to make perfect or complete the things that the enemy made imperfect or incomplete. When we pass through that gateway to His Shaddai, He will enable us to complete or make perfect His creation that was made imperfect by the sinfulness of man. We express His love to heal the brokenhearted; his wisdom to earn or develop resources to help the poor; the humility and understanding to reach out to those imprisoned.
We are not on this earth to gather all these good things for our own glory and benefit, but to be a Zayin, one who is not just joined with God, but involved with God in carrying out His plan. The Zayin like our Z is the last letter of the Alphabet and is rarely used. Such is why Jesus said; “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14. Few are those who can pass through that gateway into the Shaddai and resist the temptation to use that power for his own purposes and glory.
We see today man is completing God’s creation but in ways that are not for the glory of God. We harness atomic energy, the very basic element of God’s creation, the atom, to provide many benefits to mankind, but we also harness it for weapons of war. We are actively involved in genetic engineering to provide an abundance of food for mankind but that genetic engineering can be used for selfish motives by producing food sources that have no seeds causing farmers to purchase and depend upon major corporations to provide the seeds to grow the next year’s crop.
God intended for us to continue with creation and man has created many things but it was not done walking before God, seeking that hug from God and learning to walk naturally in a way that brings pleasure to God.