What’s in a name?

I am happy that my name is not a symbol like @ or #. My initials do not spell anything crazy like H-I-T or S-A-D or even P -B-N-J. My name may be common, but it is a good one. birth certificate

Israel had some sad names that Isaiah records in chapter 62…Forsaken and Desolate. But that was going to change. God was going to rename them…My Delight Is In Her and Married. In the Bible, names are very important. Genesis is full of people who are named for a character trait or special event that happened in their lifetime. A name was not simply a label, but a description. And Israel would not be under punishment forever – they would need a new name: The Holy People, Redeemed of the Lord, Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.

That inspires anticipation! Watchmen were posted, looking day and night into the distance, calling out what they saw. Isaiah wrote to those who remembered the promises, “pray about them! Take no rest, and give God no rest – be persistent – until God does what He has promised. Prepare for the blessing, be ready for Him!”

When Jesus came the first time, the world was so surprised they did not believe that God had really sent Him. What will He find when He returns?

A righteous servant of God worked salvation for Him, dealing out justice. It is a picture of bloodshed, with garments stained like someone who trampled the grapes in a wine press to squeeze out the juice.

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Isaiah moves from this imagery of punishment to a storyteller’s retelling of the history of how Israel came to this place.

God’s steadfast love…that’s what Isaiah will recount. He was their Savior who redeemed Israel…only to have them rebel and grieve His Holy Spirit – the One who brought such awesome acts for them as they were saved from Egypt, and called by the Lord’s name.

When have I rebelled and grieved You?

Isaiah finishes with a call to God to remember the people identified by His name. It was a close connection – one that everyone would know about. So God, don’t forget us!

My name is tied up with God’s also…although “Christian” does not have the reputation that it once enjoyed. By identifying with God, my actions reflect on how people see Him. What will my name be known for?

God, thank You for who You are, and Your steadfast love. You do not disown or destroy errant followers, but punish them so that Your name will be great! God, help me to see myself as Your child. Thank You that I am called by Your name, and that is my new identity! Amen.

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