“What are you like, Father? What do you like?” I asked in bedtime prayer one night. A list of words started scrolling through my mind, like watching an overhead projector. Occasionally the list paused on a particular word, accompanied with more explanation about it. It was an amazing answer to my question. “There’s more,” I realized as I began to fall asleep.
A few days later I started writing down what I remembered of the list, looking up scripture references as well as definitions from the original language. Even more amazing. Now and then another one comes to mind. I add it to the list.
This morning, thinking about one particular “I am” description spoken by God himself, I looked for it in Strong’s Concordance. Here’s what I found.
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I [am] the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” (Gen. 17:1 KJV). Key words include:
- Lord – Jehovah: the existing one
- Appeared – ra’ah: become seen, present oneself, be visible, cause to see, cause to look intently at; to look at each other face to face
- Almighty – Shaddai: almighty, most powerful
- God – el: supreme being
- Walk – halaq: come and go, move, live, die; manner of life (i.e. exist)
- Before me – paniym: in the face of, in the presence of
- Be thou perfect – tamiym: complete, whole, entire, healthful, sound, unimpaired, having integrity, entirely in accord with truth and fact
Wow. Live every moment in the presence of God = be whole. Complete, healthy, unimpaired in body, soul and spirit.
Some seem to think “walk before me” means I go first, God follows along behind. I just show my prayer list and plans to the Lord, then no matter what I do He’ll okay it. Whether or not the Lord inspired it, instigated it, assigned it, directed it, commanded it or not, He will bless it. I don’t think so.
“Before me” here means “in my face, in my presence.” Face to face, in the present-tense presence of Almighty God. I follow him, not the other way around. In the process, I am made complete and completely whole, healthy and sound, having integrity and entirely in accord with truth and fact. Made able to do whatever He wants to do in and with me, whenever and wherever He wants it done.
Jesus said, “Be ye perfect” (Matt. 5:48). This is how I can do that. Invite, welcome, and cooperate with the Holy Spirit. Listen to him. Learn from him. Do what he says. If I don’t understand something? He will explain it in words appropriate to me, illustrate it, give examples. Show and tell. He’ll do the perfecting. That is so reassuring! It’s still amazing, too.
There are lots of other words on that list to study and meditate on. Did you know that God sings? And dances?