No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. Genesis 17:5 ESV
The one who chooses a name for another is usually the one in authority over them. My name can be a source of joy or source of pain, depending on the relationship I had with the name-giver. I am always struck by how deeply some hate their names. It goes far beyond wincing at the mere mention of it, especially if they were named after a relative they didn’t like.
Abram’s name, given at birth, means ‘my father is great.’ It speaks of the greatness of his prestigious ancestry. When God called him for spiritual greatness instead, He gave him a new name. Abraham means ‘father of many nations.’ The focus shifted from his past to his future.
When someone is given a new name in scripture, they receive a new calling, and perhaps it will also be a call to something they are not, by nature. For instance, the timid might be named ‘courageous’. The insecure ~ ‘strong’.
God only renames those who are great, right? If I believe that, I will flounder in my identity, not grasping who I am on the other side of regeneration and redemption. I was re-named in Christ. With that change came privileges and responsibilities that defined my future. I am like Abraham after all.
Satan is a liar, out to convince me that I am not the person God says I am. He hopes I’ll see myself as a fake and a failure. But if I understand the new name I’ve been given, no accusation will stick. He will not be able to undermine my confidence if I believe the truth, rehearse the truth, and stand in the truth.
Revelation 3:12 “I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.”
Like Abraham, my name is about my future. Every time Satan looks at me, he remembers that I am engraved (tattooed) on the hands of God. I’m branded for eternity and though the devil knows it, he’s counting on the fact that I don’t. No chance. My new name has been forged through forgiveness, not failure. My identity was made new, and my character change is ever in process.
When you wrote my adoption papers with your pen, Lord, it was with permanent ink. Thank you. Amen