The name Abram means “exalted father” and the name Abraham means “father of nations”. At this point, Abram is ninety nine, and has only been a father for thirteen of his ninety nine years. Ironically, he lived childless for eighty six years with the name “exalted father”. Now, with a mere one son, God changes his name to “father of nations.”
By giving Abram this new name, God is reminding Abraham who he is. Not because it is apparent to observers. But because of God’s promise. It might be laughable to onlookers to think of an old man with one son as a father of nations. But based on God’s promise, it is a reality.
This establishes an important connection between faith and speech. Speaking what is true helps us believe and live what is true. God is giving Abraham a way to remember His promise repeatedly, daily: every time he hears his own name.
When we believe, we are given a new identity in Christ. We are new creations, with new desires and new gifts. But our old man is still there and doesn’t want to be supplanted. Let’s speak this new reality: we are receptacles of the Holy Spirit. We are children of the Royal King. We are filled with the resurrected power of Jesus. This is what is true. Let’s speak it. It is our new identity, our new name.
Our old nature is still a reality, but it is no longer our master, unless we choose it to be. Speaking what is true helps us shift our perspective of ourselves from what we were (the old man) to what we are (a new creation).
Let’s speak our new name, our new identity, and live our new nature. In doing so we will be walking in the footsteps of Abraham.