Summary: A description of how Abram walked with God and God’s response back to Him.
The Joys Of Walking With God
Today’s society thrives on big events, speed, noise, movement, and drama. But it is not hyperactivity that troubles us - it’s quietness.
Solitude is often considered boring, a waste of time.
Mistakenly, we suppose that walking with God is a quick, easily acquired discipline. And we fail to give ourselves permission for leisure and time alone with God.
Abram would not understand our shallow relationships with God.
His vigorous faith catapulted him into:
1) Arduous foreign travel (Genesis 12-14)
2) A military campaign (ch. 14)
3) A covenant with God (ch. 15)
4) He even struggles in understanding the promise of God (ch. 16).
5) But through it all he had close relationship with God.
I. We Must Learn To Wait On God (Genesis 17:1-2)
A. Silently - (v.1a)
Genesis 17:1-2 (NLT) When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. (2) I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.”
Thirteen years of silence lie sandwiched between chapters 16-17.
Abram, like anybody who lives a life of trust in the Lord, experienced periods of waiting like this - sometimes long ones - between notably significant events.
But God was there. He was working. He was just quiet. God is at work in our lives too - even in silent times.
God re-affirms His commitments to Abram. His promises are still true. He wasn’t forgotten- even though the long silence may have, at times, led him to believe otherwise.
Paul Harvey told about a 3-year-old boy who went to the grocery store with his mother. Before they entered the grocery store she said to him, "Now you’re not going to get any chocolate chip cookies, so don’t even ask."
She put him up in the cart & he sat in the little child’s seat while she wheeled down the aisles. He was doing just fine until they came to the cookie section. He saw the chocolate chip cookies & he stood up in the seat & said, "Mom, can I have some chocolate chip cookies?" She said, "I told you not even to ask. You’re not going to get any at all." So he sat back down.
They continued down the aisles, but in their search for certain items they ended up back in the cookie aisle. "Mom, can I please have some chocolate chip cookies?" She said, "I told you that you can’t have any. Now sit down & be quiet."
Finally, they were approaching the checkout lane. The little boy sensed that this may be his last chance. So just before they got to the line, he stood up on the seat of the cart & shouted in his loudest voice, "In the name of Jesus, may I have some chocolate chip cookies?" And everybody round about just laughed. Some even applauded. And, according to Paul Harvey, due to the generosity of the other shoppers, the little boy & his mother left with 23 boxes of chocolate chip cookies.
El = powerful
Shaddai – almighty
This is a double emphasis on how powerful and mighty God is.
Shaddai is translated ’almighty’, but the root of the word is actually ’breast!’ In the sense of nourishment and supply.
So the two words combine to mean God, mighty to nourish and supply
And the name is given in the context of
- Abram’s weakness, frailty! (99!).
- Exalted father (but father of none!)
- Abram and Sarai’s inability to conceive
And the one true God shows up and says ’I am God the almighty provider and nourisher! And your name is Abraham because you are going to father a multitude and this whole land will produce fruit for you!"
It is this revelation that changes his name and nature! From Abram to Abraham.
II. Walking with God (Genesis 17:3-27)
Genesis 17:3-8 (NLT) At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him, (4) “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! (5) What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. (6) I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them! (7) “I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. (8) And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God.”