Week 3: Day 4
“When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.’” Genesis 17:1-2
Circumcision and the Seed of Promise
Names don’t mean much in our culture today. But when God gives someone a new name, it means something big. God gave Abram a new name, Abraham, which means father of the multitude, and he gave Sarai a new name as well, Sarah. These new names were given to confirm the promise that had been given to Abram many times before that he would be the father of a multitude of people (Gen 12:2, 13:16, 16:10). Then God made a covenant with Abraham and gave him the sign of circumcision to show that his covenant was forever. At around one hundred years old, Abraham and Sarah both struggled with the thought that they would have a child at such a late age (Gen 17:1, 18:11). Abraham thought that God should establish the covenant through Ishmael, but God insisted that the covenant would pass through Isaac (Gen 17:21; Rom 9:7).
So many times we want to have faith only in what we can see, but God wants to show his power by accomplishing the impossible. We know the end of the story. The end is that Jesus would come as the seed of woman from the line of Abraham through Isaac to crush the head of the seed of the serpent (Gen 3:15) on the cross finally and forever. Now if we come to Jesus by faith, repenting of our sins and trusting in him, we will receive new names as well—sons of the living God (Rom 9:26).
Connection with Newer Testament
For the Kids:
Tell your children the meaning or special significance of the name you gave them when they were born. The Lord thought names were pretty important, as this is not the only instance in Scripture of him giving new names to his followers at key turning points in their lives. Consider helping them make a name plaque to hang in their room as a remembrance, and encourage them to think about how they can live up to the meaning of their name for God’s glory.
1. God gives Abram a new name which reflects his new identity in his covenantal relationship with God. We too, have been given a new identity and name through the cross of Christ. Thank God that he has adopted you into his family, made you an heir with Christ, and given you every spiritual blessing.
2. God takes the initiative to rescue us and willingly chooses to dwell with us, in spite of our sinful state. Though we, along with Abraham, forget and doubt God’s promise to us, he still keeps us. Praise God!