TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1 ESV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I love Tiffany & Co. Call it my inner-Holly Golightly, but “I’m just CRAZY about Tiffany’s!” I don’t actually own anything from Tiffany’s, but I love to browse online…Something about that Tiffany blue just relaxes me. But even if I had a Tiffany kind of budget, I don’t think I could justify those kinds of prices. And I’m not talking about jewelry. I’m talking about their gifts. Here’s a couple of fun facts for you: a set of Tiffany & Co. ping pong paddles will set you back $700 while a set of pool balls will cost $1500. A Tiffany teddy bear is $400. A cat bowl is $100, while a dog bowl is $130. And a deck of Tiffany playing cards is $115.
Obviously, the name is the driver for the cost.
Clearly, names have power. And names have value. We see this a lot in the Bible. There are the God-ordained named changes: Abram became Abraham (Genesis 17:5). Sarai became Sarah (Genesis 17:15). Jacob became Israel (Genesis 32:28). Saul became Paul (Acts 13:9). Moses changed Joshua’s name from Hosea (Numbers 13:16). These names reflect God’s promises and are symbolic of His goodness. Abraham means “father of a multitude,” Sarah means “queen (or mother) of princes,” Israel means “wrestles with God,” Paul means “little or small (as in humble)” and Joshua’s name means, “Jehovah saves.”
Then, beyond those positive name changes, we have some not-so-positive ones. Daniel, Hannah, Mishael, and Azariah were Jewish exiles in Babylon who were given new names in order to strip them of their Jewish heritage and attempt to integrate them into Babylonian culture through the names of Babylonian gods—Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 1:7). Isn’t it weird how we still refer to Daniel as Daniel and the others by their Babylonian names?
Finally, we have Rahab. Rahab didn’t actually go through a name change, but bless her heart, almost every time she’s mentioned in the Bible, she’s referred to as “Rahab, the prostitute.” Give the girl a break—she became a follower of God, but she cannot shake that label, even thousands of years later.
Right now, let’s focus on YOUR name. What does it mean? Do you know the story behind it? Are you named for someone? Do you even LIKE your name? There’s a question people rarely ask… I like my name, but Denise is my middle name, not my legal first name (I’m not going to tell what my first name is other than to say, I’m very grateful that my parents only called me that for two or three days before deciding I looked more like a Denise.)
It’s really a fascinating topic. When you think about it—the very act of naming someone is a tremendous responsibility. I say this to anyone who is thinking “Rona” is a befitting name for a baby born this year—please… I plead with you on behalf of your baby… don’t. There’s nothing positive about Coronavirus-inspired names. For years, psychologists have studied how names can impact our future — again, I refer to poor Rahab (the prostitute). And for the children born in 2020 whose parents insist on naming them accordingly, the field of psychiatry is going to have a heyday.
If you’re a follower of Jesus, there’s another name you have. I guess it’s technically a label, but it’s Christian, which obviously means “Follower of Christ” (Acts 11:26). But you can also expect God to give YOU a new name, just as He did for Abraham, Sarah, and the others, including Rahab (though we don’t yet know it, but I’m certain God will have mercy and remove “the prostitute” part for once and for all). Revelation 2:17 says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.” There are a number of theories about what this passage means, but the one that resonates most with me is that the white stone is symbolic of acceptance to those who have trusted God, and to them, He gives a new name. That seems to be the viewpoint that is most consistent with God’s nature.
Whatever your name is now, and whatever name God gives you later, know this. He knows you by name! In what has recently become a favorite passage of mine, Isaiah 43:1 says, “But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.’” Because God knows us by name, it doesn’t matter what other names we’ve picked up along with the way… we don’t have to wear the names of shame, guilt, regret, or unworthiness. The God of the universe knows our names, and moreover, He has declared, “You are mine.”
And THAT my friends is far more valuable and priceless than anything Tiffany & Co. has to offer.
Today, as you pray, thank God for the power of names, and most of all, thank Jesus—the one who has the name above all names (Philippians 2:9). Ask the Holy Spirit to help you live the name/label of “Christian” in a fruitful manner. And ask Him to help you shed any unwanted names that are no longer befitting you who have been redeemed.
SHARING ••• My Grace-Full Life is written by Denise Heidel. You are welcome to share anything I write, but please credit my writing and graphics accordingly. Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. Subscribe through my website to have My Grace-Full Life delivered to your email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the ESV translation.