1When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am El Shaddai.[a] Walk with me and be trustworthy. 2 I will make a covenant between us and I will give you many, many descendants.” 3 Abram fell on his face, and God said to him, 4 “But me, my covenant is with you; you will be the ancestor of many nations. 5 And because I have made you the ancestor of many nations, your name will no longer be Abram[b] but Abraham.[c] 6 I will make you very fertile. I will produce nations from you, and kings will come from you. 7 I will set up my covenant with you and your descendants after you in every generation as an enduring covenant. I will be your God and your descendants’ God after you. 8 I will give you and your descendants the land in which you are immigrants, the whole land of Canaan, as an enduring possession. And I will be their God.”
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]
Abram was an old man when he experienced an insistence that seem to arise from an over-whelming sense of the presence of divinity, named by the Canaanites as El Shaddai (that is, the god who overwhelms or destroys). That divine presence seemed to bond with Abram, bring about changes, and create within him endless possibilities. Henceforth Abram would be known as Abraham. This old man with no children would be the ancestor of “a multitude of nations.” Preposterous? Probably, but the unthinkable (sometimes even the non-sensical) seems often to be the substance of a calling in the name of God. Perhaps. The key to transforming such a preposterous calling into concrete reality is that having heard and affirmed the calling usually provides a passionate commitment to fulfill the calling. Such passion can be the ‘stuff’ of accomplishment.