“Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah.'” Genesis 22:2a (NIV)
Naming my children was one of the best and most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. What a responsibility to choose a person’s name! A name has the ability to steer the course of a person’s life. Think of someone that had an impact on your life when you were growing up. What feeling does that name bring? Do you sometimes impose that feeling onto other people with the same name? I would imagine we all do at times.
I always loved the name Jesse when I was growing up. Every Jesse I met was a fun person to be around. They seemed confident. They were leaders. They were funny. Therefore, when it came time to name my first son, Jesse seemed like a great choice!
The doctor that delivered Jesse was named Dr. Born. How perfect! I think it is unfair that some people just know what they are supposed to do in life because their last name spells it out for them! I mean, what else could a Mrs. Born be but an OB doctor! 😉
Our names can leave an imprint on someone before we even meet them. Right or wrong, we can begin to form opinions about someone based solely on his/her name.
I believe that often, the meaning of our names reveals at least a piece of our personality. I thoroughly researched each of my children’s names before choosing them. My second son, Asher, means happy. He is! What a blessing after my first high maintenance baby!
We named our third son, Maverick. I have often considered changing it! What was I thinking! I do believe he will change the world someday, but parenting a child who never wants to follow the norm has not been easy. Would he still have been a maverick if that wasn’t his name? I don’t know. But I do know that his name definitely fits him.
Names were important in the Bible. Often, we can learn a lot about a person by studying what his/her name means. God also had a habit of changing people’s names. We have Simon who He named Peter. Saul who became Paul. Jacob who became Israel. And for our purposes, we have Abram who became Abraham.
In Genesis 22, God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac. There is so much packed into this one verse.
First, it seems like a contradiction to say “your only son, Isaac.” Abraham had another son, Ishmael. However, Isaac was special. He was the son of the promise. He was unique. He was the only son that was promised to carry on the covenant.
It is also interesting to note that technically, AbraHAM only had one son, Isaac. Ishmael was born to Abram. Although, yes Abram and Abraham are the same person. The little “ha” that was added to his name speaks volumes. When God added the “ha” to Abram’s name he added multiplication. He added blessing. He added a covenant promise.
Abram means high father. Whereas, Abraham means father of a multitude. Abraham went from being an exalted father to the father of a MULTITUDE! God multiplied his name! When God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, he also established His covenant with him. Therefore, Isaac was the only son of the covenant.
Jesus was also referred to as “only son.” John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Even though at times Adam is referred to as a son of God (Luke 3:38) and all Christians are referred to as sons of God (Galatians 3:26). Jesus was the only Son of the promise, the son of the covenant.
When God referenced Isaac as Abraham’s “only son,” He was foreshadowing that someday He too would sacrifice His only son, Jesus.
Personal Reflection: What does your name mean? Do you think it fits your personality?
*If you have a name that has a negative meaning, consider studying the story of Jabez in I Chronicles 4:10. Jabez’s name means pain. But, he cried out to God and asked Him to bring freedom from the pain.
“Hebrew Lexicon :: H87 (KJV).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 20 Feb, 2016. <http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H87&t=KJV>.
“Hebrew Lexicon :: H85 (KJV).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 20 Feb, 2016. <http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H85&t=KJV>.