We take the naming of our children seriously. We consider honoring relatives, look up the meanings, and pay attention to how names roll off of our tongues.

Terah named his son “Abram,” meaning “exalted father.” Later, after Abram married Sarai, who could not bear children, the name must have stung. In fact, after God’s first promise to Abram to make him a “great nation” (Genesis 12:1-3), Abram wondered how it could happen. So God drove home the promise: “‘Look up at the sky and count the stars — if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said, ‘So shall your offspring be.’” (Genesis 15:5b).

When it didn’t happen after several years, they began to doubt. So much that Sarai convinced Abram to a backup plan with her servant, Hagar. But God reiterated it several times it would be Sarai and Abram who would become parents of nations. To remind them of the promise of his plan, God gave Abram and Sarai new names: Abraham and Sarah — meaning “exalted father of multitudes,” and “princess,” for kings would come out of their line.

God does similarly with us through the work of Jesus. By God’s power he has called us “redeemed” (Colossians 1:14), Christ’s friend (John 15:15), a “member of Christ’s body” (1 Corinthians 12:27), and his children (1 John 3:1).

While we might doubt God’s plans for us, similar to Abram and Sarai, these names indicate a new status right now. Isn’t it time to embrace our new names?

Dear God, thank you for your redeeming work in my life and for naming what has changed. Help me have faith — despite my doubts — that you have already done a great work in me, and that I can move ahead in confidence and not uncertainty. Amen.

Addiitonal Resource: Praising God in Hard Times: Praise is Possible

Tags: Trust Genesis 17 praise identity
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