Genesis 17 – What is in a name?

I read Genesis 17 in King James and Amplified versions.  The Amplified version gives a more exact translation of the Hebrew…and gives so much more insight.  Here is verse 1 in Amplified, “I am God Almighty. Walk habitually before Me with integrity, and be blameless and complete in obedience to Me.”  Verse 1 in King James, “I am the Almighty God.  Walk before Me and be thou perfect.”

What a difference!  Being perfect would be impossible, but a person could follow God’s commands as given in the Amplified version.  Walking that way with God should  be our goal today too.

The other thing that spoke to me in this chapter today, is the importance of names.  My note in Amplified bible for verse 1 says that God calls Himself YHWH in Hebrew…or Yahweh with vowels…or it could also be El Shaddai….meaning almighty, all sufficient, He gives life, nurtures, pours out blessithe ngs.  Perfect way to introduce Himself before reassuring Abram of His covenant promises…land, a son and many descendants, protection, and blessings  (being empowered to prosper and be in health).  Having a son was taking longer than Abram expected and God was assuring and encouraging him.  God brings the covenant to the physical realm for something Abram can see, hear, and feel.

He further displays His promises and makes it a continual reminder by changing Abram’s name. Now,, every time he hears “Abraham”, he will be reminded of God’s promise.  God also instituted circumcision as a physical observable sign of covenant.

Abram (exalted father) becomes Abraham (father of a multitude).  Sarai (my princess) becomes Sarah (Princess)…the Jewish Rabbis say the difference being Sarai is a princess of a tribe or nation…but Sarah is Princess of the world.

In verse 19, Isaac means “laughter’ for the joy of fulfilled promise.  Remember Ishmael means “God h ears”.  Remember that earlier we read that Peleg means “land divided” and he was from the time that people were divided and scattered to different lands at the Tower of Babel.

Names are significant to God.  This is especially noted where He instructed Joseph and Mary to call the son conceived by the Holy Spirit to be Yeshua (Jesus)…because it means “the One who saves”.

God gives Himself many names in His Word to describe Himself.  Maybe one day we can study that subject here.

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