What’s In A Name?

What’s In A Name?

My wife worked for a correspondence school program and she handled the file for two kids whose names were Oranjello and Lemonjello. The parents must have confused the baby name book with their most recent grocery store shopping list!

When is the last time you met someone named Benedict? Not very likely you have although the name Benedict has a lovely meaning, “Blessed.” For a couple centuries, that name has been soiled by the reputation of one of America’s most infamous traitors, Benedict Arnold. His personality has modified the appreciation of a name; it has influenced the name. Names are important, but for God, His name is revelatory. Where the actions of a Benedict influence a name, with God it is the opposite. His name describes how He acts. We cannot understand God without His name.

God is a spirit; He does not have a body or form. You can recognize someone by their face and mannerisms. You can see children or grandchildren and recognize the traits they possess from their parents. You can also recognize one another through the quality of one’s voice. We have these visual and audible retainers through which we hang our understanding of people. God does not have form though. So on what do we hang our understanding of God? The only thing we can—His names.

Abram is in the Ur of Chaldees without any apparent concept of God, yet he is visited by God, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee” (Genesis 12:1). In order to fully appreciate God’s identity, we must strip away any of the world’s influence. The world has their own concept of God. They have descriptions and even epic myths about God. However, none of those will lead to a life of faith. Those fables actually destroy the fabric of faith in God because they are woven with the frailty of human weakness.

However, when we decide to honor and worship God on His terms, according to His revealed identity, then we will benefit. “I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2). Later in Abram’s life, he fights to rescue Lot and ends up reclaiming massive riches. The king of Sodom says to Abram, “Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself” (Genesis 14:21), but Abram would not do this. A few verses earlier, Abram was reminded by Melchizedek of God’s name, “The Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth” (Genesis 14:19). Abram recognized he didn’t need anything from the world which was a valuable lesson considering his escapade in Egypt during a famine a couple chapters earlier. He clings to the name of God and pledges His allegiance to depend upon Him alone.

Someone has said, “Our concern is more about going to heaven than loving the King.” Is this true in your life? If this is the case, then it’s no wonder people feel they can live however they choose because their ticket is punched for heaven. But if we are living because of our love for the King, this changes our motivation and improves our behavior.

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