December 09, 2019

Another Name Change

Genesis 17:15-19; 21:1-7

“Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.”

—  Genesis 17:19

Let’s pause today to consider someone who is not named in the genealogies of Jesus: Sarah. When we first meet her, she is called Sarai, which means “princess.” But God made a subtle change to call her Sarah, indicating that she would be the mother of nations and kings.

When God told Abraham these things, he laughed to himself. So did Sarah (Genesis 18:12). But a year later, their laughter was filled with joy. God kept his promise, and Sarah gave birth to a son, Isaac, which means “he laughs.”

This delightful story points back to God’s promise to Eve about the importance of the woman’s offspring. It also points ahead, for God said he would establish an everlasting covenant through Isaac. Much later an angel of the Lord appeared to a man named Joseph and said, “Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife. . . . She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).

Some people might laugh at this and say, “Impossible!” But the Bible says it’s true—and whoever believes in Jesus will be saved from sin and have eternal life (John 3:16). Put your trust in Jesus today so that your life may be filled with the joy that he alone can give.

Lord, strengthen our faith, and remind us as you did for Abraham and Sarah and for Joseph and Mary that you are always faithful and keep your ­promises. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — John Van Schepen

Dr. John Van Schepen is a retired pastor who served churches in Washington, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oregon and California. He and his wife, Willie, have been blessed with five children and several grandchildren.

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