And when Abram was ninety nine years old YHVH (read Adonai) appeared to him and said, “I [am] EL SHADDAI,

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before me

and be complete.”

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Now it happened that when Abram was ninety-nine years old THE ETERNAL AND PERSONAL GOD appeared to him and said, “I am, THE ALMIGHTY GOD, live before me in a way that is innocent and sound, not lacking anything I desire.”



The reason this was mentioned was to remind Abram of God’s provision in the past and also of the punishment that will come for acts of disobedience.


The idea behind “walk” is to live or conduct one’s self properly. It is about how we act.


“complete” is difficult to express in one English word because of its depth and richness of meaning. The root idea is that of being “complete, whole, or finished.” Things like “integrity, being blameless, without fault, innocent, sound” are also part of this word’s intended meaning. It has been translated by some as “perfect” because of the idea of “not lacking anything.” Or we could say it means “being entirely in accord with truth.” Unfortunately, using just one of these English words or phrases does not adequately capture this word’s full impact. Using a phrase or two comes closer but expressing its full meaning would require a full paragraph, which is impractical. That is why someone invented footnotes.J

Does this word describe the person – “be blameless,” or does it describe the action – “live blamelessly?” An ancient Jew would probably say, “Yes, it describes both.” The original text includes the verb “be” but it goes with “walk” which means “live.” They are presented as two ideas, but the way we work them out in our lives shows they are basically the same things. In the translation column I use this word to describe the person, and in the paraphrase column I use it to describe his actions.

We become complete, mature, fulfilled and satisfied when, with God’s help, we obey God in every aspect of our lives. There is no room here for partial obedience. We are not the ones to choose what gets included in this covenant relationship; God has already chosen, and He said it includes everything.

How can we be “finished” before we die? Aren’t we always learning and growing spiritually? Yes, that is true. Thankfully, God sees the heart. He wants us to strive toward total obedience and complete faithfulness, and He accepts our feeble attempts rather than punishing us for being weak and imperfect. He punishes willful sinning but not simple weakness. We see many times in Scripture that God is good at balancing things that are hard for us to balance. Here we find that God is good at balancing His high standard (His holiness) and our weakness (His mercy and grace).