Summer Devotional and Sermon Series
Week 6/Heroes: Sarah
What’s in a name? Growing up I always thought it would be more glamorous to have my name spelled “Kaye”… with the “e” at the end it just seemed more feminine and I guess a bit flirty. But I was named Kay. My mother chose the name to honor her dear friend who used it as a nickname for her given name of Katherine. When choosing a name for our son, we wanted something a bit unique but not so strange as to give people license to tease him. We chose Kyle which is a bit of an homage to my Irish heritage as it a Gaelic name taken from “caol” which means narrow, woods or church. Other sources indicate it means “victorious” which to me fits his personality very well.
In the passage in Genesis, we see that God tells Abram that He is changing his and Sarai’s names. It seemed strange to me that He would change Sarai’s name to Sarah as the meaning is the same. Both names mean “princess” so what was the purpose of the change? As I read more on the subject, I discovered that Sarai means “my princess” which personalizes it to a smaller group, but Sarah means “a princess” which broadens the meaning somewhat. “I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” Her new name was fitting as she would now be a princess to all of His people.
God did not change people’s names on a whim. He chose to make those changes because of His plans and purposes for that person. Perhaps it was to let them know they were destined for a new mission in life. As hard as it may have been for Abraham to grasp, God’s proclamation to him shared the destiny He had in store for him and for Sarah.
These days, we can legally change our names due to marriage or divorce or if we simply want to change the spelling or if we really don’t like our name. Only marriage or divorce represent a change in our status. But nothing is more precious to us than our good name, as a fine reputation cannot be bought. It is achieved through our deeds of kindness and generosity. Ecclesiastes 7: 1 says “ A good name is better than a fine perfume” and Proverbs 22:1 tells us “Repute is preferable to great wealth” Whether we keep our names or change them, we need to treat our reputation as one of our prized possessions. Then we can be proud of our achievements and the name we leave behind.