Name Change – Abram to Abraham

A name is more than just a means to call someone. In some cultures, the name of a person means their very identity and is indicative of not just what they are called, but who they are in essence.

Abram means Exalted Father and it was the name given to Abram, the husband of Sarai, by his father Terah.
Abraham means “Father of many nations” and it was the name given to Abram, by God himself.

Genesis 17:5-6 records the rechristening of Abram and starts by God telling Abram that he shall no longer be called Abram.
Note also how God tells Abraham that he shall not be the Father or One nation as was what he was promised earlier (Genesis 12:2), but now that he would the Father of many nations. God had told Abram he shall be the father of One nation, when he was still childless, but instead of trusting the Lord, he did not wait for the Lord’s timing. Now again, Abram is still childless, and God is telling him again that he would be the father of not one, but many nations. Abram had to trust in the Lord this time.

Hidden in this account are two spiritual Treasures. First, when we are rechristened by God, i.e., we  become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), bearing the name of Jesus (Revelation 3:17; 1 Peter 4:14) and we should no longer be known by our previous names. In fact, name change requires a nature change … to trust in the Lord. Second, we see God magnanimity in blessing Abram not with just one nation, but with many nations.

Points to ponder:
Have you been rechristened by the Lord? i.e., have you believed in Jesus Christ? If you have, are your living by the name that you were given at birth or by the new name bearing the name of Jesus Christ? Has your name change resulted in your nature change? God is magnanimous is giving us more than than what we ask for or deserve.

Genesis 17:5-6 (KJV)
Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

God’s Contract Terms and Benefactor

When God re-appears to Abram, thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael, the son whom Hagar, Sarai servant girl, bore to him, God says that he will make a covenant between himself and Abram and will multiply (bless) Abram exceedingly (Genesis 17:2). Note, how God puts himself to be the first person in the contract, however, the benefactor of the contract is the latter – Abram.

When God does a contract with man, he is the first in the contract and the contract is made between God and you, but the one who benefits is you, exceedingly.

Points to ponder:
God’s contract with mankind is his signed by the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ, by which there is remission of sin, so that mankind can be blessed exceedingly, even eternal life. Are you in contract with God? He has already signed it. Do you accept?

Genesis 17:2 (KJV)
And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.

Walk before me and Be thou perfect

God had promised Abram that he would bless Abram and make him into a great nation (Genesis 12:2) and to Abram’s seed, he would give the land (Genesis 12:7). Abram was 86 years old when Hagar bare him a son, whom he named Ishmael (the name that the angel of the Lord had told Hagar to name her son). The next we know of Abram is that Abram is 99 years old and God has to come and reintroduce himself (Genesis 17:1) as the Almighty God. There is nothing mentioned of 13 years of Abram’s life from the time Ishmael is born to the time God reestablishes his covenant with Abram, but we hear God ask Abram to walk before him and to be perfect (blameless). Though it is not explicitly stated, one could imply that Abram was walking in his own way, as opposed to walking in the ways of the Lord; his heeding to Sarai’s wishes to lay with her slave girl Hagar for a heir, instead of relying on God by faith and trusting his word is one evidence of this fact.

In any case, the loving nature and Sovereignty of God brings him back to Abram and this time God conditionally commands Abram to walk before him and to be perfect.

Points to ponder:
Are you walking in your own ways? God is asking you and me to walk before him and to be perfect. Are you and I walking before the Lord and are we perfect? The only way, we are made perfect (blameless) is to have the perfect righteousness of Jesus imputed on us, which happens when we believe in him. God is loving and Sovereign and out of his great love for each one of us, he is asking us to walk before him and be perfect.

Genesis 16:15-16 – 17:1 (KJV)
15 And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.
16 And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

Are you Beerlahairoi?

The name that Hagar, the runaway slave girl of Sarai, gives to the well (between Kadesh and Bered), where she meets the Lord, is Beerlahairoi, meaning the well of the Living One who sees me.

Note, how Hagar describes the Lord. She describes him as the Living One. She also goes on to state that the eyes of the Living One is on her.

Points to ponder:
The Lord is not only Living, for from everlasting to everlasting (Psalms 90:2), he is, but also his eyes are fixed on you and me. He sees us. Out of a well flows water. Out of the the one who believes in the Lord, Living Water  shall flow from him/her (John 7:38-39). When we believe in Jesus,  out of us shall flow the Holy Spirit (Living Water) of God. Can those who look at us say, we are “Beerlahairoi”? meaning that we are the well of the Living One who sees us?

Genesis 16:14 (KJV)
14 Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

God’s Columbus Day

Columbus day is celebrated annually on or around the 12th day of October in recognition of Columbus’ first arrival in the new world (USA). Just as Columbus would have searched for land to rest during his voyage, God is searching for us daily – to find our hearts in which he can rest.

Points to ponder:
Is your heart open to God? When we believe and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we become a new creation.
The Bible says that “now is your day of Salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).  Let today be known as God’s Columbus day. Are you discoverable to God?

2 Corinthians 6:2 (KJV)
(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

God sees me

Genesis 16:11 states that the Lord heard Hagar. Genesis 16:13 records the words of Hagar which state that God saw her as she question if she saw the one who sees her. Hagar’s words are “God sees me”, simple words that have tremendous meaning and application.

First, not only God hears Hagar, but sees her as well. Second, it is not any man who sees but God himself. Third, the object of God’s vision is Hagar.

Points to ponder:
God hears our afflictions and he does not only hear us, but he sees us as well. We are the object of God’s vision – the apple of his eye (Deuteronomy 32:10; Zechariah 2:8). Our sins may hide us from God (Isaiah 59:2), but we can be assured that we are in God’s sight and that he sees us. God sees you and God sees me.

Genesis 16:13 (KJV)
13 And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?

Ishmael – the name and nature

Genesis 16:11-12 records what the angel of the Lord foretells Hagar about the birth of her son – his name and his nature.

First, Hagar was commanded to name her son, Ishmael, which means “the Lord hears” for the Lord has heard her affliction. Despite Hagar’s insubordination, the Lord was gracious to her and heard her cry. Second, the nature of Hagar’s son, Ishmael, was foretold. Ishmael would be a wild (or wandering) man with a warring disposition (with his hand against every man and every man’s hand against him), while living amongst his own relatives.

Points to ponder:
God hears the cries of those who cry out seeking his justice. God not only knows our name but our nature as well. We have a tendency to wander away from God and be warring in our disposition. What are you called by? What is your nature?

Genesis 16:11-12 (KJV)
11 And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction.
12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.