When Abram was ninety-nine years old, God appeared to him and said: “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham. … I will establish my covenant between me and you and to your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring” (Genesis 17:4-5, 7). In this passage, God gave Abram two things. First, he gave him a covenant, or a promise. He swore to Abram that he would have offspring to make up many nations, and that he would be their God forever. Second, God gave Abram a new name, Abraham.
Most of us cannot claim to be direct descendants of Abraham. However, that doesn’t mean that we are excluded from the promise, or the name. Jesus, a descendant of Abraham, lived the perfect life and fulfilled the covenant. When he did, he claimed all nations as his own. He made all who believe to be spiritual descendants of Abraham (Galatians 3:29). Therefore, God is our God forever, and we are part of his everlasting covenant. And furthermore, we have a new name. We are not called Abraham; in fact, we have many names. 1st Peter 2:9 says it this way: “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession.”
The chapter goes on to say, “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people” (verse 10). Once we had a different name, just as Abraham did, but now we have a new name. We are chosen, royal, holy, a people belonging to God. We are made new because of Jesus. That’s what Lent is all about – celebrating what Jesus did for us because we could never do it ourselves. This Lenten Tuesday, let’s pray and thank God for giving us his promise and his name.