When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.” Genesis 17:1-2
This is a moment in life, really in the whole universe, that Abram is #winning. Abram wasn’t trending worldwide, and this experience wasn’t making headlines. But what happened here between these two would rock all creation. This covenant was going to be the vehicle that saw God come to earth in Jesus and save all things. Abe is, almost literally, on top of the world. Abram didn’t know all that exactly, but I think he knew what God was saying was huge and significant; the promise to father nations at age 99 is powerful.
So, he celebrates? He victory dances? He brags to neighbors? He feels self-satisfied and ready to retire a happy man? His days of trial, work, and worry are over? No.
The next verse has him on his face before God. And God keeps talking and describing this covenant, and what he expects of Abram, and, yes, the rewards and promises too. But this is atrue picture of covenant. Preachers, particularly those on TV, use passages like this to say our faith is going to always result in growth, plenty, expansion of territory, etc., because those in God’s “favor” like Abram have their fame/fortune waiting at the end of the rainbow. But Abram, who is there with God in person, doesn’t react the way televangelists lead us to believe he should. Abram gets to feel first-hand that the promise here of being made numerous is spoken by a voice that is overwhelming and awe-striking. Abram, in God’s very presence, probably feels the great hope in God’s words but also a healthy dose of fear. The covenant comes with stipulations, with guidelines, with boundaries of love. The covenant is a declaration of relationship love, meaning it puts demands on both of the parties involved.
When the God of ALL THINGS in heaven and earth looks directly at you, and says, “Hey, I’ve had an eye on you and I choose you, and because I choose you I’ll be with you and watching you even more closely,” it is not just a pleasant experience. Think about how it would change things for you, in Abram’s shoes. Think about what it asks of you. Then, maybe, let yourself think about the promises. The next thing we know, old grandpa Abram has a new name, and a new baby boy, and an unfolding adventure/peril before God.
So, even as victorious people, in Christ Jesus, what does #winning look like for us? When we feel on top of the world, are we staying in deep touch with the God who calls us not just to winbut to be in deep relationship with him?