Signs and Wonders - Lent Week Two

The Season of Lent 

The Scriptures help us paint a picture of Lent filled with signs and wonders for those willing to see them.  They help tell the story of how far God is willing to go to rescue those whom God loves.  

This is the Second Sunday of Lent 

Today, we will read a story about how Abraham and Sarah got both a promise and a name change and what spiritual meaning that might have for us.  

When People Change Their Names For The Wrong Reason... 

Darren QX Bean!  (Darren Lloyd Bean)
Bacon Double Cheeseburger (Sam Smith)
Tim Pppppppppprice (Tim Price)
Henry Lizardlover (Henry Schiff)
Sexy Crabtree (Sheila Rae Crabtree)
Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine Hulk And The Flash Combined (George Garratt)
King Arthur Uther Pendragon (John Rothwell)
Ynot Bubba (Justin Brady)
Lianne Madonna Vogue On The Cover Of A Magazine McHale Dawson
Emma Madonna Confessions Of A Dance Floor Dawson 
Luther Devine None of the Above Knox
Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-bop-bop (Jeffrey Drew Wilschke)

But what if you don’t like the name you have been given, or your name has a meaning you don’t want to live with?  

The Bible had lots of moments when people were given new names that signified a new calling, a new purpose, and a new identity in God.  

Our true name and purpose are found in one place… within us, where God placed it before we were born.  The Divine DNA that makes us an image-bearer of God contains everything we need to know about who we are and what purpose we are called to fulfill.  


We need some background on what's happening here to understand the passage we will read more thoroughly. 

Abram is from Harran (Turkey) and receives a message from God to "go to a place where I will tell you..." So he picks up and leaves with all his retinue, his nephew, flocks, camels, you name it. 

God tells Abram he will have descendants that will be so numerous they will be more than the sands on the sea. 

But Abram is skeptical, along with his wife Sarai, because he has no heir, which is wrongly considered a curse in the ancient world. Sarai takes matters into her own hands and offers up her slave girl, Hagar. 

All of this creates a strange passage with lots of silence and even more questions.  
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty[a]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. 2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, 4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. 5 No longer will you be called Abram[b]; your name will be Abraham,[c] for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 
15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 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.”

What about the missing section?  Well, it's all about circumcision.  Which is an entirely male kind of thing.   Abram, now called Abraham, takes all the dudes in his household and circumcises them.  

Imagine having that conversation. 

There's a host of problems with this passage, seemingly prioritizing men as the recipients of the blessings of the covenant, but there is this passage where God gives a blessing to Sarai and a name change for her, too, from Sarai to Sarah. 

Sarai - "My" Palace, Princess

Sarah - Palace, Princess  - no possessive, no restriction 

The name change of Abram and Sarai symbolizes the wonder that comes with a new sense of purpose and a truer sense of self.  Despite the problems, we see a God who names and defines identity. 

The Apostle Paul wrote about this very scene and connected it to Christ, who Paul believed was the blessing that God spoke of when he told Abraham through him he would bless all the nations: 

16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.”[c] He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.

Where Do We Find Our True Name & Purpose? 

1. We find it when we surrender to a God we trust has good purposes.  

2. We find it when we realize the story we told about ourselves isn’t over. 

3. We find it when we trust even when we don’t fully understand. 




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