“What’s more,” God told him, “I am changing your name. It is no longer ‘Abram’ (Exalted Father), but ‘Abraham’ (Father of Nations)–for that is what you will be. I have declared it.” Genesis 17:5
I’ve sung songs about God calling me by a “new name”, but I’ve never quite understood what it meant. I’ve always thought it was kind of strange for God to be like, “No, you do not look like a ‘Madison’, I shall call thee ‘Jessica’!”
But I get it now.
Names back then actually meant something. (Although names nowadays do too, most people aren’t named their name because of its meaning.) The names in Abraham’s day seemed to have power behind them, almost like they would become what their name was. When Abraham introduced himself to people, it’s not like they just heard him say “Hi, I’m Abraham”… they heard him say, “Hi, I’m ‘Father of Nations”.
How stinkin’ radical is that?!!
God saw Abram and knew that his name didn’t suffice for who he WAS going to be. He WAS going to be a father of nations.
I think that’s something cool about God. He gives us new names. New futures. He doesn’t see my past as who I am.
I have a new name!
I’m not the same person I used to be!
How cool is that?!
And it’s not like this whole “name changing” thing is Old Testament! Jesus changed Simon’s name too, “ Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matthew 16:18)
I like that God’s a name changer.