Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.” (Genesis 17:15-16)
You may recall how we spoke of the fact that when God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, it was emblematic of breathing into him and enabling him to do what he was called to do. Also, when Sarai’s name was changed to Sarah, there is great implication. First, it should be viewed as God breathing into her and allowing her to conceive. Certainly not in the same way but, nevertheless, hinting at what would happen to a young girl from Nazareth many years into the future.
Judaism believes that there is another feature to the name changes given to Abraham and Sarah. The ineffable Name of God that most know as Yahweh is spelled, in Hebrew, יהוה (yod, hei, vav, hei). It is believed that when God changed Abram’s name, He gave him one of the ה heis in the Holy Name of God. Likewise, when God changed Sarai’s name to Sarah (“princess”), He gave her the other ה hei from His name. The point would be that the Seed of Abraham would carry an element of God’s name within them.
We can see this very clearly in the name Yehudah (Judah) — spelled יהודה (yod, hei, vav, dalet, hei). The only distinction between God’s name and the tribe of Judah is the letter ד dalet, a letter that signifies a door. That in turns points us to the one who said He was the door through which all must enter if they wish to approach the Almighty.
Clearly, our Father wanted those who were His to carry His name, as it were. To carry His name is to say that we walk in His authority and that we are called to faithfully represent Him to all of humanity. It is also clear that to carry His Name implies that we are to be imbued with His Spirit in order to successfully do what we’ve been called to do.
Finally, to carry His Name means that we are to walk in His blessing. This should give us great comfort knowing that the Almighty has set His name upon us to bless us. And thus, we will close today’s devotion with the blessing that the priests were to pronounce upon the people:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6:24-27)
Blessings and Shalom,