Back in biblical time, the meaning of the names had a big part of who they were. Just look at Naomi in the book of Ruth. Naomi’s name means pleasantness. After her husband and sons died she returned back to her hometown and wanted everyone to call her Mara which means bitter. One of the things I love about the book of Ruth on this is that Naomi wanted the name change but God never wanted it and she was still called Naomi throughout the book. God wanted her to be remembered as pleasantness, not bitterness.
We find this week Abram and Sarai, 25 years after God called them out from their homeland. A lot has happened in that period of time. The lie in Egypt and Sarai’s mess with Hagar are just a couple. God revisits Abram when he is 99-years-old and made some changes. No changes in the promise He made about Abram and Sarai being parents the change was in their names.
Abram, “exalted father”, who had no sons that God would work with became Abraham, “father of many nations.” That had to have blown his mind. At 99-years-old he would become the “father of many nations.”
God didn’t stop there His next step was to change Sarai’s name. I love the picture here. Think of the proud dad when his baby girl was and naming her Sarai, my princess. Very enduring. God, however, saw her more than that He saw her as “princess of nations.” Once again verifying that she will have a child.
One day we will receive a new name from the Lord know only by Him. As we see with Abraham and Sarah the names will have an important meaning to God.