We consider the naming ceremony as a sacred event and believe that choosing the correct name, brings blessings and success in the lives of our children. As a result, choosing a name has now become even more complicated, as people think that the prosperity of their children depends on their name. Some people name their children after famous people like presidents, leaders, scientists and entrepreneurs, assuming that their names brought those people success and will do the same for their children. In this process, people avoid naming their children after notorious criminals or warmongers.
Everyone has a different method of choosing the right name. Netizens google to find a suitable name for their children. Some depend on astrologers to select a name based on the alignment of the celestial bodies. Religious people rely on the scriptures and pick a name at random from the Bible. But when they come to know more about that character and the curse laid on them by God, they live their lives in terror of being ridiculed for their name.
God Named His Son
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.Luke 2:21
God Himself specifically asked the couple to name Him Jesus as He would save His people from their sins. God changed the names of a few folks in the Bible, not to change their destiny but to convey a message through their new name. God changed the name of Abram to Abraham to tell people that he is the father of many, the meaning in Hebrew. The name Jesus, carried with it the redemption plan of God.
The pool of Siloam, where Jesus had sent a blind man to receive his sight, carried a significant meaning with it. The pool of Siloam literally meant to be sent and when Jesus sent the blind man to it the purpose of the name was achieved. Some places are named by God well in advance, and it reveals the meaning and reason of its name to us when the plan of God comes to pass. It is not the name that attracted the blind man towards the pool, but the plan of God.
God Knows Us By Our Names
While God named His Son Jesus to call back His people to Him, He knew all our names that our parents have named us. Irrespective of the sources through which our parents named us, God knows it and calls us by the same name. In the beginning, God asked Adam to name everything He had created according to his own whims and fancies (Genesis 2:19-20).
Children of God should never speculate on their name as it’s our fortune to worship the creator of heaven and earth. While the astrologers calculate the movement of the planets to understand their good and bad times, our Father in heaven makes the stars and planets to pave the way for us. While God creates each one of us unique, we are still not able to think of a unique name for each one of us.
There are thousands and thousands of people who bear the same name, and we identify them with other specific things such as their place of dwelling or the job they do. For example, John the Baptist is used to differentiate the brother of James from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah. But God connects our names to our hearts, and He calls us by our name. Though He calls us by our name, we do not hear His voice. We can recognize His voice only when our hearts are aligned with His heart.
The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.John 10:3-4
In the book of Revelation, God says that “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Revelation 3:22)”. We all have ears, but our ears are full of the voices of this world, and we are unable to hear when God calls us by our names. Our priority should be asking God to give us ears that can recognize His voice. If our ears receive the word of God, our hearts will receive His Spirit, and God will call us His children.
The converts often think that they should change their names that suit their new religion. Some people debate on the correct name of Jesus and suggest that His name should be Yeshua, when Jesus is only an English name, Yeshua is the Hebrew translation for the same name. The name David is Dawid in Hebrew and Davidus in Latin, and it does not mean that we should follow the names of other languages. If that was the case then we would have read the Bible in the original languages, ignoring the grace of God that has provided His word in our mother tongue.
The chief official of Babylon gave new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and Azariah, Abednego” (Daniel 1:7). Their names were changed to encourage them to forget their God and to follow the ways and gods of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar wanted Daniel and his friends to “conform to the pattern of this world” (Romans 12:2), and a name change was the first step towards that goal. The step taken by Nebuchadnezzar had utterly failed because those four boys lived their lives by connecting their hearts with God in prayer and did not allow the sentiments about the names of the Babylonian gods to dominate their minds and actions.
Many believers think that Saul had changed his name to Paul on his conversion, and they followed in his footsteps and thought that changing their names is mandatory post their conversion. Saul did not change his name to Paul, the former is his Jewish name while the latter is his Roman name. Giving our children a biblical name cannot change their spiritual walk, but feeding them with the Biblical words and concepts will hold them to lead a Christlike life.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.Deuteronomy 6:6-7
Let us throw off all our sentiments attached to the names and fix our eyes on Jesus whose name has been lifted above all names.