What’s In a Name?

Anyone who has had children (even the furry kind) has had the delightful pleasure of getting to choose a name for their child. Some choose to carry on family names, some pour over the latest baby name books, some choose the name of a famous character, and still others make up completely new names in hopes to set a new trend or establish uniqueness. Then there are those few who throw caution to the wind and choose names that deliberately incite humor or some other kind of emotion. Whichever the case may be, that name will be with that child for the rest of their life.

Did you know that God is into naming His children, specifically choosing a name for them (Abraham, Israel, John, Peter, and Jesus to name a few). Just as we delight in identifying that “perfect one”, so our Father delights in giving us our names as well. Yes us, here, now, not just back then! You see even when He appears to have no hand in it (meaning there is no direct reference that God chose that name), I cannot help but think He does!

Take Esther, for example. Her Jewish name was Hadassah, comes from the word for myrtle and means “fragrance”. Esther was her Persian given name, which means “Star”. Interestingly enough, the name Esther comes from the verbal root in Hebrew “str”, meaning “to conceal”. Those of you who have read or are familiar with the book of Esther know well then that she could not have been given names that were more appropriate for her and the significant impact her life would have on the Jewish people and the Persian Empire. It is uncanny!

Maybe you are thinking still that was then, this is now, and God did not have a hand in choosing my name, my parents chose my name! Hmmm… My parents chose my name as well: Lisa, which means “Consecrated unto God”, and that I certainly am! One of my favorite examples is my husband’s name, which is Uwe, and is old Norse for “Warrior with the Sword”. For anyone who knows my husband well, then you know how very well this describes the sum of who he is – not only because of his military ties but also because he is a spiritual warrior as well, with the sword representing the word of God! Now I will tell you, Uwe has always said his dad chose to give him this name because it was “nice and short” compared to the long name and title that had been given to him. This just makes my point even more, because even though Uwe’s dad had no real intention of making the connection of the name to the meaning, God knew who Uwe was!

So many people I ask today do not know the meaning of their own names. If I happen to know it, I tell them, and they are often surprised by how closely aligned the meaning sums up their being. Perhaps you know the meaning of your name but are perplexed by it. Ask God to give you an understanding of it. There may be times too, when like Jacob (who became Israel) or Cephas (who became Peter), God gives you a new name. Ask Him what HE has chosen to call you!

For those who still think that God is not into names, I leave you with one thought and one challenge. Here is the thought: Did you know God has the names of His children tattooed on his wrists (or palms)? See Isaiah 49:16! Here is the challenge: Have you ever done a quick study on the names of God Himself? You will be amazed at how many there are, and how He lives up to each and every one of them! I challenge you to get curious enough to research both His names as well as your own, and get ready for a revelation!

New parents, I give you a challenge too! Pray over your baby and ask God what He wants you to choose for a name, then make sure your child grows up knowing it’s significance!

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