Monday, 23 December 2013

What's in a Name?

)This reading is based on Psalm 138 and is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of SDAs.)
"For You have magnified Your word above all Your name." Ps 138: 2
Living Up the One's Name
Although names (that often come with predetermined meanings) are usually assigned even before persons develop a reputation, in real terms, what your name symbolizes to people who know you, is based on who you really are (in terms of reputation and character). There are instances where people live up to the meaning of their names. For example, the name Jesus, connotes one who saves (YHWH saves). Did Jesus live up to that implied meaning? To this very day! This is why we can sing the song "We have heard a joyful sound, Jesus saves, Jesus saves...."
                                Image from
New Name
There are however times when one's life becomes radically different from the implication of the name. We look at Jacob, for example. The meaning of the name Jacob is "Supplanter; held by the heel," - a very negative connotation. For a while Jacob lived up to this reputation, but at length God changed him, and when the time was right, God changed his name to mark his character transformation. Jacob became Israel, meaning "God wrestler, God contended, triumphant with God, one who prevails with God." We too are promised that when we ascend to Heaven we will each receive "a white stone, and in the stone a NEW NAME written...." Rev. 2: 17. This will doubtlessly be a name that marks our journey and the change that God will have wrought in us.
Don't Just Take My Name For it, Prove Me
God seems to be saying, 'Don't just take my name for it; test my word, and let your experience determine what you think of Me.' "Prove me now...," says He in Mal 3: 10. In a similar vane the Psalmist declared, "O taste and see that the Lord is good." Ps 34: 8. Polycarp, a Christian martyr who was believed to have been a student of John the Revelator, said these words when asked to defy Christ, "Eighty-six years have I been His servant, and He has done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King who saved me."
So Father in Heaven, we thank that Your word is "Yeah and Amen." May it be our resolve to live by Your every word. And as You reveal yourself to be a credible God, true to Your every word, may the very mention of Your name bring peace to our hearts, consolation in sorrow, and hope amidst despair. And when You would have completed Your special work of re-creation in us, and we would have triumphed over the enemy, we look forward to that new name You will give us on that day. Till then, keep us faithful and trusting, in Jesus' name, amen.

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