Skip to main content

Genesis 17-18

Note to the reader: Well, I'm way late. I've got excuses but they won't benefit you. As such, I've got apologies. I'm going ahead and writing/catching up so that it's here for future reference.

Growing up, one of the TV shows we watched fairly regularly was Dragnet. If you know the show, you're familiar with the line: "The names have been changed to protect the innocent." After all, you'd hate to be blamed for something you didn't do--so a shield of anonymity can be helpful.

In ancient cultures, though, name changes weren't typically to hide yourself. They were used to mark significant milestones in your life or to show a new allegiance. Which, of course, to the new king, was a significant milestone in your life.

And so we come to the name change for Abram. The Lord Almighty determines that it is time to mark a new beginning for Abram and so renames him Abraham. (An interesting note in one of the newer Greek New Testaments makes the opening syllable more aspirate, like "Ha-braham," which would sound more Middle Eastern.)

The meaning change, based on Study Bible notes, is basically a shift from "Exalted Father" to "Father of Many (or a Multitude)." The "Abr..." part is the "father" commonality. Taken this way, it's primarily a reminder from God that Abraham's heritage is more than just Isaac. He'll only live to see his grandsons reach the teenage boy phase, which means he may be tempted to take them out on his own. Or at least give up on feeding them.

What difference does this make? Well, God alone has the right to make the change and this is part of the narrative where God pushes Abram to make an even bigger step. In this chapter, God commands the covenant sign of circumcision. We won't hit the details of that here, but realize that this becomes a long-lasting part of the identity of the people of Abraham. And as you read the New Testament, you see it's significant in the life of the early church. (Check Galatians 6 for some thoughts on the matter.)

God shows His sovereignty in bringing Abraham and Sarah a child--and note that God also changes Sarai's name to Sarah, showing that God is her sovereign, directly, without intermediary--and reminds them both through the change of names. Then, a sign of the covenant was established, one that would be memorable and permanent.

What of us? Do we remember God's covenant? Do we understand the permanence of the One True God's promises and covenants?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Book: Vindicating the Vixens

Well, if Vindicating the Vixens doesn’t catch your attention as a book title, I’m not sure what would. This volume, edited by Sandra L. Glahn (PhD), provides a look at some of the women of the Bible who are “Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized.” As is frequently the case, I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my review.Let’s take this a stage at a time. First stage: book setup. This is primarily an academic Biblical Studies book. Be prepared to see discussions of Greek and Hebrew words, as appropriate. You’ll also need a handle on the general flow of Biblical narrative, a willingness to look around at history, and the other tools of someone who is truly studying the text. This is no one-day read. It’s a serious study of women in the Bible, specifically those who either faced sexual violence or who have been considered sexually ‘wrong’ across years of study.A quick note: this book is timely, not opportunistic. The length of time to plan, assign, develop, and publish a multi…