For the last few days, I have looked at God's promise to Abram about having many descendants and how Hagar, Sarai's servant gave him a son (Ishmael). Something that gets very lost in Abraham's story is the timing of all these events. Abram was 75 years old when God first called him to leave his home and follow Him. Abram was 86 years old when Ishmael was born. At some point in between those events God had promised Abram that he would have many descendants. I just think of how I sometimes get impatient with God's timing and my dreams and then I am humbled by Abram's life. God didn't even reveal a part of His plan for Abram's life until Abram was 75 years old. But there is still more to Abram's story; please read Genesis 17:1-8.
Did you notice Abram's age in this part of his story? Abram was 99 years old, which means Ishmael was 13 years old. This is an amazing scene to read about because God appears to Abram and calls Himself "El Shaddai" - God Almighty. I think about how overwhelming this had to be for Abram; he heard God call Himself "God Almighty." Abram's reaction was to immediately fall face down to the ground. God reminded Abram of His promise to give him many descendants and told him that it was a covenant between them that many nations would come from Abram. I think that at the ripe old age of 99, this must have been overwhelming to hear. It is also so humbling to think that we read within a matter of a few chapters some major encounters Abram had with God they all happened in a span of 24 years.
But God didn't stop with His covenant with Abram; He renamed him. Abram means "exalted father," but God wasn't satisfied with that; God called him Abraham, which means "father of many." But there is something I want to point out is that God called him Abraham before he became the father of many. This is important for all of us to consider because we are also given a new name when we believe God and the hope we have in Christ. We are called children of God because of our faith; in Matthew 3:9 (NLT) John the Baptist said, "Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones." Galatians 3:7 (NLT) says, "The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God." As God's children we have victory; 1 John 5:4 (NLT) says, "For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith."
There are so many names we are called as God's children that I do not have time to explore; names like light of the world, salt of the earth, righteous, holy, heirs, and so much more! We may not feel like we live up to our new names; however, remember that He calls us how He sees us. We are who God says we are. Just as God called Abraham a father of many before he had conceived his son with Sarai, God calls us who we are according to the promise we have in Christ.
Do you believe God's declaration of who He says you are?
This post is linked with iFellowship Blog Hop and Word Filled Wednesday.