No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. Genesis 17:5
We delight in naming things. One of the major perks of discovering a new species of animal or a new plant or a star is the privilege of naming it. One of the first things we do when we acquire a new pet is to give it a name. And then of course, there’s our children. After they became engaged to be married, each of my own children kept a running list of names for potential offspring with their fiancée. There were actually 3 lists, names for possible future boys, possible future girls, and names that were absolutely off limits because one or the other of the prospective parents didn’t like them.
One of the first things we teach a newborn is to respond to their name. It is often one of the first things we teach them to write. For most of us, they are the only words we will ever write by hand to authenticate documents, to make vows of marriage, to enroll in military service, to pay or receive funds, or to bequeath our fortunes when we are gone.
But for all our focus on them, names have much less meaning to us than they did to ancient peoples. In many cultures today, our last names reflect our heritage. I’m a Locke because my father and grandfather were. What it actually means to be a Locke is up for every single holder of the name to interpret. Our first names also tend to reflect family members or others that we hold dear. In Texas you meet a lot of people named Houston, Austin, and Dallas. Its funny but I never met anyone from Boston with those names. But naming someone after a family member or a historical figure doesn’t mean they will have anything in common with that person. It’s just a name.
God sees names differently. When God grants a name, it is rich with divine meaning. When he names people or things it reflects His view of them, His will for them, or maybe His promise to them. When God’s will begins to unfold in someone’s life He may change that person’s name, as we see with Abraham in our text for today.
What would God name you?
The good news for us today is that God has told us the names He has for us. Check out just a few:
Galatians 3:26 – Child of God
Ephesians 1:14 – God’s Possession
1 Peter 2:5 – A Holy Priesthood
2 Corinthians 6:16 – Temple of the Living God
1 Corinthians 2:16 – Possessor of the mind of Christ
Colossians 3:24 – Inheritor from the Lord
These are deeper names than any our parents gave us my friends. Let’s live in the identity God gave us and enjoy all the benefits that come with it.