Genesis 17:1-27 (NKJV)
An ancient covenant that involves a name change that ties in with us today because of Christ.
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.
SFLB-“Almighty God” is here the English translation of “El Shaddai”. This name for God emphasizes the might of the Lord in contrast to the frailty of man. This name is mentioned in the context of commands to walk blameless and to multiply.
2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”
3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying:
4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.
5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.
6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.
Note: Abram does not complain like he did before, even though thirteen years have passed and he is now 99 years old. Sarai is over 90. There is no way they can have children, but he does not complain. He worships, and lets the Lord figure out how to make this work.
The Lord not only lays claim to the covenant, but enforces it by changing Abram’s name to Abraham. He is no longer called “High Father” or “Patriarch” to “Father of Many Nations”. This is exciting because we followers of Jesus are participants in this covenant. Note St. Paul’s commentary on this passage:
Romans 4:19-25 (NKJV)
19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.
20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,
21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him,
24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,
25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.
Revelation 3:12-Jesus writes on them, or the pillar erected in their honor, the name of His God , the New Jerusalem, and His new name.
We get a new name as well.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”
I love how this ancient covenant, affirmed in this ancient encounter between eternal God and a very old man, has impact and relevance to us today. In Christ this covenant become our covenant as well, and the El Shaddai-the God who has no limits even when people are bound by limitations-is El Shaddai for us as well because of Jesus Christ. It is a precious thing to realize one’s life is connected to history and to a plan from the ages that came from the very mind of God Himself. It is humbling as well.