At a recent staff meeting Nick Bank told us that one of the names he was considering for his prospective daughter was Robin Ann. That would make her Robin A. Bank. Imagine what the kids would do with that. We all had our own stories about how our names were abused as kids.

The first couple I married 20 years ago are named “Laden.” When they were expecting, I suggested that they name her “weary” or possibly “heavy.”  I once new a man named Meek who was always asked if he had inherited the earth. Donald Grey Barnhouse told of a man he knew by the name of Wrench who divided his acquaintenances into two classes: Those who did not make wise cracks about his name and those who did. He was often asked “are you related to Monkey?”

Can you imagine being named “Abram” which means “father of many” when you didnt have any children at all? Everytime you introduced yourself you’d wait to be asked “how many children do you have?” Then you’d wait for the response. Even after Ishmael was born you sure couldn’t call Abram a father of many!

In Genesis 17 God introduces himself to Abram by name. He calls Himself “El Shaddai” which means God Almighty. He is able! Then he changes Abram’s name from father of many children, to father of many nations, “Abraham.” He says “I will make you exceedingly fruitful.” Can you imagine what everyone thought when Abram informed them, at 99 years of age, that he didn’t want them to call him “Father of many” but now he wants them to call him “father of many nations.” Everyone must have burst out with laughing. From the human point of view that would seem ridiculous. Of course it would be if God’s name wasn’t “El Shaddai.”

In Romans 4 Paul writes about Abraham: “without weakening in his faith he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to what he had promised.”

El Shaddai is still our God. He brings life out of death, love out of hate, peace out of turmoil, joy out of misery, praise out of cursing, and strength for all those who trust Him.