Thank God for smart phones where we can set for ourselves reminders with different ringtones to grab our attention. In the old days it used to be a string tied around the finger. By the 1990’s, “yellow-stickies” became the modus operandi, being stuck to doors, mirrors, windows, computer screens and even dashboards. Yeah, thank God we have ways to remind ourselves of what should be priorities. Why? Because we so easily forget. -even those things which are so important that we take the time to create a visual reminder such as a string, sticky-note or iPhone calendar reminder.
This is what we see in the first reading. We hear, “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said: ‘I am God the Almighty. Walk in my presence and be blameless.’” In today’s lingo you could almost hear Abram thinking, “Really? Again with this? I know you’re God and I must walk in your presence and be blameless. You’ve told me this a thousand times.” In fact, God had been leading Abram since he began his pilgrimage out of Ur. God promised him offspring and lands. And then he does so again when Ishmael is conceived with Hagar and Abram is 85. Now we see Abram at 99, fourteen years later! Still, no son. Still no descendents other than the wild ass of a man (Ishmael) who is currently 13 and probably a wild ass of a teenager.
God says to Abram about Sarai, yet again, “I will bless her, and I will give you a son by her.” Abram had heard this before. But, he needed a reminder! -just like he needed a reminder that God is God and that he must walk in his presence and be blameless. We see Abram’s faith and familiarity with God, as well as his humanity, because we hear, “Abraham [he was renamed in v.5] prostrated himself and laughed as he said to himself, ‘Can a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Or can Sarah give birth at ninety?’”
As we know, the answer was yes. Isaac was born one year later, more than twenty-five years after God first promised Abraham descendents. The promise was to be fulfilled, eventually. But Abraham needed reminders along the way. And so do we. God is God. We are not. He loves us.
Relax, and walk in his ways the best you can.