December 08, 2019

Name Change

Genesis 17:1-13, 27

“You are worthy . . . and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

—  Revelation 5:9

Long ago God gave Abram, whose name meant “exalted father,” an amazing promise: “I will make you into a great nation” (Genesis 12:2). Sometime later God also told Abram that his offspring would be as many as the stars (15:5). But many years rolled by, and Abram and his wife, Sarai, had no children of their own.

When Abram was 99 years old, God appeared to him again and doubled down on his promise. God renamed him Abraham, which means, “father of many nations.” As a sign of this new promise, God commanded that all males in Abraham’s house­hold—­whether born to him or bought by him—were to be circumcised. God’s promise was sealed in blood.

Abraham and his wife did have a son, and many descendants followed. So Abraham became a father of many nations. But that is not the end of the story.

Years later, one of Abraham’s descendants, a child named Jesus, was born in Bethlehem. In Ephesians 1:7 we read this about him: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” And that forgiveness, we find in the book of Revelation, extends to every tribe, language, people, and nation.

Today, through the shed blood of Jesus who died on the cross, God’s promise to Abraham extends to you wherever you live. Will you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

Lord, with all the hosts of heaven we worship you, for you are the one who faithfully keeps his promises. In Jesus, 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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