Unlike British culture today, a person’s name in the bible usually meant something. This is distinctly apparent when God promises Abram a son.
Firstly, God refers to himself as God Almighty, El Shaddai. This title alone conveys the omnipotence of God. This is a God who can do what humanly seems impossible.
Abram’s name is changed to Abraham. From being “exalted father”, he becomes “father of a multitude”. This is to show the covenant which God makes with Abraham. God promises Abraham a son, that through this son, Abraham will become the father of a great nation, a populous nation. A line of kings would be descended, and ultimately the King of Kings and Lord of Lords would be born through this lineage. God was seeing through his plan of salvation.
Sarai is given the name Sarah, from “my princess” to “princess”. Again, this has a similar function to Abraham’s naming. She is to become the princess of a nation, the start of a line of kings, rather than just a matriarch of a family.
Finally, the name of their son is significant. Isaac means “laughter”, and at his announcement there was laughter of incredulity from his parents, yet when he was born, the laughter was that of joy. God had made his promise and kept it.
Whilst our given names today may not say much about us, if we call ourselves Christians do we behave as though we are Christ’s?
Although Nehemiah was doing the will of God, he didn’t just sit and wait for God to do everything.
He went about surveying the ruins of Jeruslaem to determine what needed doing. He saw first-hand the magnitude of the task he had been given.
By the grace of God, he roused the people that they might undertake this work willingly.
Finally, he didn’t make himself an overseer apart from them, but he included himself in their number. He didn’t refer to “them”, but to “us”. He led by example.