Summary: Abram has his name changed to Abraham. (Powerpoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
A New Appearing (vs 1-2)
A New Requirement (vs 1b)
A New Name (vs 3b-5)
A New Bond (vs 9-22)
• "What's in a name?"
• Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet made this question famous.
• If you know the story you will remember that they fall in love;
• Before learning that they bear the names of rival families.
• Romeo is a Montague;
• And Juliet a Capulet.
• Willing to deny name before love, Juliet cries out,
• Then a few lines later, Juliet asks that poignant "What's in a name?
• That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet."
• Well to the great bard of Avon in this play names are unimportant!
• But in the Bible names are very important!
• When we name a child today, we often choose a name we like,
• Or one we associate with something special.
• i.e. My daughter is Katherine Anna Curley.
• Anna is a family name that mum, grandmother etc. that all the girls have.
• i.e. My boy is named Arlo,
• That name was chosen after a folk singer called Arlo Guthrie;
• We chose it simply because it was unusual and we liked it.
• In the Bible names had deep significance;
• And were carefully chosen to have meaning and purpose.
• i.e. Positive example (Matthew chapter 16 verses 16-18):
• Jesus changed Simon's name to Peter - "rock" or "stone".
• i.e. Negative example (1 Samuel chapter 2):
• Ichabod was the son of Phinehas and the grandson of Eli, the “priest of the LORD.
• ‘Ichabod’ – ‘Glory of God had departed’.
In the Bible names had deep significance and were carefully chosen to have meaning and purpose:
• i.e. Longest name in the Bible: Mahershalalhashbaz (Isaiah chapter 8 verse 1 & 3).
• Which means; “"Hurry to spoil!" or "He has made haste to the plunder!""
• He sounds like an Israeli ‘Del Boy’ or ‘Arthur Daley’.
Often a name was chosen to represent who or what the parents hoped and expected their child to become.
• i.e. Moses' wife was named Zipporah, which means "bird”,
• A lovely name evoking beauty, grace and freedom.
• i.e. "Ruth" means "friend,"
• And the bible character called Ruth certainly proved to be an excellent friend.
• i.e. Zacchaeus, the small-in-height tax collector,
• Didn't exactly live up to his parents' hopes.
• His name meant "pure & good" a trait rarely attributed to tax collectors!
• And certainly not to this one – until one day he encountered Jesus!
Question: Why does God bother to change Someone's Name?
• God made the changes for a specific reason.
• The name change corresponded with a life change;
• From this moment on;
• The person whose name was changed was expected to how they were before!
• In today’s passage Abram would become Abraham;
• And Sarai would become Sarah.
• The name change was significant;