From the Daily Office

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring.

—Genesis 17:1-12 (TNIV)

In today’s lesson we see the essence of having a relationship with God. God makes a covenant with Abraham to be his God. What does this mean? In part, it means that God expects Abraham to look to him for his every need and to trust God to deliver. It means that Abraham is to subordinate his will to God’s, because God is, well, God and Abraham is not. This, of course, also implies that Abraham needs to spend some quality time knowing what God’s will is for him. Trust and obedience are required by all humans if we are to let God be our God.

Note too that as soon as God appeared to Abraham he fell facedown. Perhaps seeing God reminded him of his lapses of unfaithfulness that were caused by his own doubts and fears. Perhaps he remembered that he had tried to take matters into his own hands in producing offspring rather than trusting God to fulfill his promise to him. Whatever the reason for Abraham’s posture, it was surely a visible sign of humility before God, a necessary prerequisite if we are to let God be our God.

God, in turn, demanded that Abraham and his household be circumcised as an act of obedience. A covenant has to have two parties and this was what God demanded from Abraham as an outward sign of his willingness to trust and obey God, to let God be his God.

Sooner or later we will all be confronted with that decision. Do you trust God to be God or have you reduced him to a manageable size so that you can try to take his place? The general train wreck of human history is a testimony to what happens when we choose the latter course.

Let God be your God. It is the consistent testimony of Christians everywhere, the minority report of humanity if you will, that those who let God be their God are never disappointed and remarkable things happen to and through them.

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