• Bishop Keith Butler

God Changed Abram's Name

As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 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. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. (Genesis 17:4-6)

Names matter to God. Philippians 2:9 tells us that God gave Jesus a name that is above every name. The word name is onoma in Greek. It means character and authority. When God gave people names, it was more than a title.

Parents today may name a baby by combining several exotic-sounding syllables, but God doesn't pull names out of the alphabet like that. In the Old Testament, people would pray and seek God about what their child was called to be and then would assign an appropriate name. For example, in Hebrew, Moses means to deliver. Aaron means exalted. He was Israel’s first High priest. David means beloved. God told Elizabeth and Zechariah to name their son, John. And a few times, God changed people’s names. For example, He changed Jacob’s name (which means supplanter) to Israel, which means one who struggled with God.

Genesis 17:4-6 recounts how God changed Abram’s name to Abraham. I believe God changed Abram’s name to Abraham because his new name meant father of a great multitude, and God knew that every time he would say or hear his name, his faith would be strengthened. When Sarah called, “Abraham, it’s time for dinner,” God’s covenant man heard, “Father of a great multitude, it’s time for dinner.” Abraham began to call things that were not as though they were (Romans 4:17). That is how he became the father of faith.

Practical Application – Suddenly, Abraham began to see himself the way God did, and it came to pass just as God said! Say about yourself what God says and watch it come to pass.

2 Chronicles 29:36; Isaiah 48:3



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