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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Then God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.’”—Genesis 17:15 (NKJV)
One of the most common questions I get is whether or not God has a specific will and purpose for our lives. Many don’t believe He does.
They agree with a lot of Bible teaches that say God created everything, that man made a mess of everything through sin, that God sent His Son to redeem the human race, and that heaven awaits for those who put their faith in Christ. They agree with the mountain peaks of our faith. But when it comes to the valleys in between these things, many think God clocks out and leaves us to manage ourselves.
This isn’t what we see in Scripture! We see a God intimately, personally, and continually involved in the lives of His people. He not only has a perfect will for our lives, but He wants us to know it and seek the wisdom necessary to walk according to it (Ephesians 2:10). In short, God is into every aspect of our lives, including the details!
Sarai stands as a powerful testimony to this. Notice in the passage above that God, the same God who loves and cherishes us, tells her newly named husband Abraham that He’s also given her a new name, Sarah.
On one level, this change is a reinforcement of the specific promise that she would finally conceive in her old age. Sarai, which means “my princess,” was now to become Sarah, which means “princess.” God drops the “my” to show she would no longer be limited by this personal pronoun. Instead her influence would be enlarged and expanded. God goes on to elaborate: “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 17:16 (NKJV)
On another level this name change affirms God’s intimate, personal, and continual involvement in His people’s lives. He is the One who initiates the change, He is the One who determines and directs her destiny, and He is the One who communicates all of this. That’s not the work of a detached or disinterested deity . . . it’s what a loving Creator and Father does.
Don’t think for a moment that God cares any less for you. Your role in His eternal plan may differ from Sarah’s, but your importance to Him doesn’t. The cross couldn’t make this any clearer, the Lord would rather die than dwell in eternity apart from you. And if your life was worth Him suffering so greatly for you, He also has a specific plan and purpose for it that He wants you to experience.
DIG: What does the name change from Sarai to Sarah indicate?
DISCOVER: What does it also indicate concerning God’s purpose for our lives?
DO: Discover what the cross reveals about God’s desired involvement in your life.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.