Kitchen Table :: November 2014

by Pam Risser

What’s in a name? My husband and I were graced with our 6th grandchild on October 14. His parents did not settle on a name for him until a day later. I recall doing the same thing with our youngest. Torn between two names, we had to see which one would suit her best.

The reasons parents give for naming their children vary. For us, it was to honor family legacy by using names found in our extended families. Others simply like the sound of a certain name or feel the meaning of a name is important. In some cultures great care is given in choosing a name believing that the child will live into the meaning of the name given them. This is often evident in the Hebrew names found in the Bible. Throughout the Old Testament names are often accompanied by their meanings because it mattered.

Names appear to be important to God as he changed certain individuals’ names based on the purpose he was calling them into; Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah; Jacob to Israel; Saul to Paul. The angel Gabriel told the young virgin, Mary, “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.” And to her fiancé, Joseph, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’).”

What I find most amazing about this whole name thing is that God’s interest in names extends to me. One of my life verses is found in Isaiah 43:1-2. Verse 1 says, “But now, this is what the Lord says…‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.’” And not only does He know our names, He has given us His! “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face …” and Isaiah 43:7 refers to “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

There are times that we need to be reminded how intimately God knows and loves us. Part of caring for one another is to remind each other of this truth. We are God’s beloved, fellow heirs with Christ.

“The same love that set the captives free
The same love that opened eyes to see
Is calling us all by name
You are calling us all by name
The same God that spread the heavens wide
The same God that was crucified
Is calling us all by name
You are calling us all by name”

(The Same Love; Michael Rossback | Paul Baloche; © 2011 Integrity Worship Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (IMI)) Leadworship Songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (IMI))

Used by permission from The Burning Bush, Franklin Conference newsletter.

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