What’s In A Name?

Have you ever wondered why God changed Abram and Sarai’s names to Abraham and Sarah?  The meaning of the name Abram is exalted or high father and Sarai means princess.  Some sources say that Sarai comes from a Hebrew word meaning one who is contentious.  Our name is our “label”.  It is our identifier.  It is how people distinguish us from others. If you think about it, when people speak your name, they are calling you something, they are calling you not just by your name, but by the meaning of your name.  In other words, you could say it becomes your identity.  God had made a covenant with Abram that he would be the father of many nations.  So God wanted Abram to identify himself with that, to take on that role or to “own it” so to speak.  So He changed Abram’s name to Abraham meaning father of many nations.  When he said “I am Abraham” he was stating “I am the Father of Many Nations”.  The same with Sarai.  She now became Sarah, the mother of nations.  God was establishing in them a new identity.  Each time they or anyone else spoke out their names, they were calling those things that are not as though they were.  And we know how that turned out! In similar fashion, we assume a new identity upon receiving Christ.  We go from lowly sinners to being a chosen generation, a royal priesthood a holy nation, the people of God!- all because of our new identity through Christ. So take on your new identity and own it!

3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. Genesis 17:3-6 (NKJV)

9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10 (NKJV)

16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed–God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; Romans 4:16-17 (NKJV)