September 8, 1999

"What is your name?"
bluebullGenesis 32:27

___Names are important. In Bible times, one's name often reflected his character, nature or the hopes of his parents. Nabal means "fool" (1 Samuel 25:2-38). Esau means "hairy" (Genesis 25:25). Shear-jashub means "a remnant shall return" (Isaiah 7:3-7).
___Sometimes, names reflected titles or the conditions of the times. Melech in the name Abimelech means "king" (Genesis 21:22-32). Ichabod means "the glory has departed from Israel" (1 Samuel 4:21-22).
___Bible names also were derived from the names of animals or plants. Rachel means
Steven Leatherwood Pastor, First Baptist Church, Rowlett
questions"ewe" (Genesis 29:16-30). Tamar means "palm tree" (Genesis 38:6).
___Other names such as Elijah, Ishamel and Nathaniel used the divine names El and Yah .
___Sometimes names in Bible times were changed. This could be done by God or by humans. Often, such a name change indicated a change in character or destiny. Such was the case in Genesis 32:22-30, when Jacob, the supplanter, wrestled all night with "a man." The match resulted in Jacob acknowledging his own sinful character and receiving a new name. Jacob's new name--"Israel"--means "God strives or rules."
___Because of his encounter with God, Jacob was changed. He acknowledged God as the source of all blessing. He yielded his life into God's control. And God used Jacob to accomplish God's plan.
___Like Jacob, most people desire God's blessing. To receive divine blessing, we, like Jacob, must confess our sinfulness and submit to God's authority. We must yield our desires to God's will by accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Then, as Revelation 2:17 indicates, a new name awaits every believer who overcomes.
___What is your name? One who has yielded himself to Jesus bears the name Christian--which means "a follower of Christ."

Previous Columns: 7/14, 7/21, 7/28, 8/4, 8/11, 8/18, 8/25, 9/1.


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