Words of Worth

What’s in a Name?

June 3, 2011

Apparently many things are in a name because people go to great lengths to find the perfect name for the objects of their affection- the things and the people they love. Cars, computers, iPhones, pets, and of course, people, are all given names that are filled with meaning. And actually, assigning a name to something or someone, is a sure fire way to become forever attached to it.

Many people do a lot of research in order to select the right name for their children. Which name will be a strong indicator for future success in life? Which name will be easy for the child to write as they go to school for the first time? Which name will instill desirable character qualities? Which name cannot be shortened into a nickname? (No name is exempt from that. Even my father’s most unique name, Americo, was shortened to Mertz!) Which name is not commonplace? Interestingly for the last three years running, the top chosen boys’ names have been Jacob, Ethan, and Michael while the top girls’ names have been Isabella and Emma with an occasional appearance of Sophia in the top three. Currently my name, Sheryl, is the 307th most common female name in the United States, while my partner in ministry, Cammy, has a name that ranks 3,907th.

However, as hard as we may try to give meaningful names to our children, there is a big difference between us and God. We may hope our children will live up to their names but only God has the power to cause anyone He names to become what the name implies. The names He gives guarantee the destiny of those He names. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham to show that he had made him the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5). When the Son of God came into the world, His name was not left to chance: “You shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) And when He named Himself, He didn’t choose names to avoid embarrassing nicknames, or to carry on the legacy of an ancestor. He chose names that revealed something about His character, about Himself, so that we will be strengthened in our faith and love, and thereby trust Him more.

Psalm 9:10: “And those who know my name put their trust in me.”

When God commanded Moses to go to Egypt and bring His people Israel out of captivity, Moses asked God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” (Exodus 3:14).

Contained in this name is the first and most important truth about God: He exists! If we stop pursuing our own glory and private pleasures long enough to consider this, it will make all the difference in the world that God exists!

What’s in a name? Everything when it is God’s name! (sv)

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)

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