What’s In A Name?

What’s in a name? Proverbs 22:1 says “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.” One can make a grievous error and it will stick to their name forever. But we also remember the names of those who did great exploits. Most people remember that Joshua and Caleb were the only two of the twelve that were sent out to spy the land in Exodus and came back with a good report. But who remembers Shammua or Palti, or Ammiel and so on. They were three of the ten who did not believe God would be with them and came back with a bad report. They never entered the Promised Land.

It works the same way with those who were infamous for their actions. Most know Judas Iscariot was the disciple who betrayed Jesus. Most remember John Wilkes Booth was the man that assassinated President Lincoln. The saying “Your name will be mud” is most often attributed to Dr. Samuel Mudd who conspired with Booth and was sentenced to life in prison for his role. Although the saying may have originated before that, most people, when asked, believe it has to do with Dr. Mudd’s treason.

Joshua, chapter two, tells the story of Rahab the harlot. Joshua had sent out two men to spy out the land of Jericho. They lodged at her house. When the king of Jericho heard men were spying out their land and were staying with Rahab, he ordered them to be given over to him. She lied and said that they were there but had left. She hid them. Rahab did this without them asking her to hide them. She had prophetic insight. She had heard of the God of the Israelites and the many miracles and how God, in His power, was with Israel. She stated in Joshua 2:11, “And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven and on earth beneath.” Rahab asked the two men to show kindness to her and her family for her kindness. She was essential to their escape and to the necessary plans to defeat Jericho.

The men were true to their word and Rahab and her entire family was spared by her faith in this God she had heard of prior to any involvement with the Israelites that allowed. Her faith is spoken of in the New Testament book of Hebrews 11:31. And in James 2:25 she is said to be justified by her works in saving the two Israeli spies. Yet just about every time she is mentioned in the bible, she is referred to as ‘Rahab the Harlot”. You’d think the part of her name that had to do with her prior occupation could have been dropped. But amazingly, she was given great honor. She ended up staying in the midst of Israel all her days and married Salmon. Some believe he was one of the two spies she helped escape. From that union came Boaz the great grandfather of David. Rahab became part of the Davidic covenant leading to Christ. She was truly justified by her faith and her works.

This can be seen as a precursor of the promise Paul gave to his jailer in Acts 16:31 when he told him, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your whole household.” Sometimes a name is just a name. Rahab became a mother of the line that brought forth David and eventually Christ. All need to listen to what they hear of the Lord. Don’t go by the actions of some that turn you off to who He truly is. Seek Him out. He knows your name. He always has. Even before you were born. You might be surprised to see what is written about you by His recording angels. He is looking for what you do now as opposed to your past. When you ask forgiveness for your sins, He is faithful and just to not only forgive you but to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. Rahab believed without seeing and walked into His grace and wonder. The same awaits everyone. We are called as children and heirs of God.

Isaiah 43 tells us that He has called us by name. We are His. Do not remember the former things. He says He will do a new thing with us. Even making roads in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. There is no one that can reverse His works. Proverbs 3:34 says “The wise shall inherit glory.” What’s in a name? Ask Rahab when you see her. But for right now, ask Him. He gives grace and glory and will withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly. Blessings.

Spiritual Insight

Sometimes it seems like your spiritual insight into a matter or a person is better than 20/20. You meet someone and realize they are not just special, but that God has His hand on them. Andrew, the follower of John the Baptist and soon to be disciple of Jesus, had that prescient insight of who he saw Christ to be, which is evidenced in these next few illustrations.

John 6:1-13 tells the story of Jesus multiplying five barley loaves of bread and two small fish. Jesus was with His disciples by the Lake of Galilee and saw a great multitude of people that had followed Him. The number was 5000, but that was likely just a headcount of the men. It could very well have been 15,000 to 20,000 people counting women and children. Jesus then asks Philip, “Where shall we buy enough food to feed all of these people?” Jesus said this to test Philip’s faith, as He already knew what He was going to do. Philip’s reply was, “Even if we give everyone a small portion, it would cost more than 200 pieces of silver.” That was equivalent to about 8 months of wages for the average person. It was also a bit of a trip to get back to town.

Andrew had an idea and felt there was something special that might be done here. He had been a disciple of John the Baptist and had heard his teaching on the coming of the Christ. Andrew most likely witnessed John baptizing Jesus. He heard him say that this was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. I’m sure he heard the voice of God speaking and saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Andrew knew this was the Messiah and upon invitation immediately followed Him. But Andrew also became the first evangelist for Christ and went and told his brother, Peter, “We have found the Messiah.” He then took his brother to Jesus who changed his name from Simon to Cephas, which means Peter the Rock. Andrew knew that he saw one with the ability to transform your very essence, not just change your name.

Andrew next sees Jesus perform a miracle of immense proportions by rescuing the hosts of a wedding that had run out of wine. This changes the path of Jesus’ ministry walk. Miracles bring out believers and also those just wanting to have a look. Jesus has the servants fill six stone water pots to the brim with water. Each one of those pots held twenty gallons. That was 120 gallons of wine. And not just average wine, but the best wine. I am sure those people never tasted wine like that again.

Andrew hears Jesus witness and minister to Nicodemus and then the Samaritan woman at the well. He next sees Jesus heal the paralytic man by the pool of Bethesda. Andrew is seeing and hearing things that he had hoped to one day witness as a believer in the coming Messiah, but this was more than he had imagined. He is hearing the words of life being spoken by the Living Word. So when Philip is not sure how to really answer Jesus’ question as to how to feed the multitudes, Andrew is reminded of all he has already seen and heard firsthand by Jesus. So he sees that if this man that could change water into wine and heal a nobleman’s son without even going to see him and lay hands on him, then just maybe the five barley loaves and two small fish could be turned into a feast. So Andrew says, “Look! Here’s a young boy with five barley loaves and two small fish…but how far would that go with this huge crowd?”(Passion Translation) Andrew just knew that the Lord would do something amazing but even still he had a tiny amount of wondering exactly how his Lord would do it. And man did he see. Jesus blessed the food and then gave it to His disciples to pass out to the crowd. They saw it multiply as they distributed the food. They gave out meals to thousands and there was still food there to feed the people. It is one thing to marvel that so little could feed so many as an onlooker at Gods’ restaurant but quite another to be a server and never have to say you’ve run out of food. And when they were done there were twelve baskets of food left over. A basket for each disciple.

Jesus could have just had manna drop from the heavens like it did with the Israelites in the desert. But that would still not have had the effect this miracle did. He was also saying He is the bread of life. The manna could not do what He would do. He is the living bread which came down from heaven. He was showing them eternal life. He who believed in Him would have everlasting life and He would soon go and prepare a place for those who believe.

Andrew means brave. He stepped out and brought his brother to Jesus with no doubt. His spiritual insight sort of got things rolling with the disciples. He preached the word in vast areas and at the end was told to stop by the proconsul in the city of Achaia and told to join in sacrificing to heathen gods. For his refusal, he was crucified on a cross shaped like an X. During the days he was suffering and dying, he was still exhorting onlookers to embrace or adhere to the faith of Jesus.

We have access to see things in so many venues. Many of us have seen mighty things done by the Lord right before our eyes or have heard the testimonies of miraculous works. Andrew was not disobedient to that heavenly vision. He tasted of that heavenly gift. 1 John 3:1 says “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God.” What is ours through belief in Him did not come cheaply. This is faith at work and it was at work in Andrew before he saw Jesus. He knew. I leave you with the James Moffat translation of 1 Corinthians 2:9, “What no eye has ever seen, what no ear has ever heard, what never entered into the mind of man, God has prepared for those who love Him.” We have inherited the same godsend and ability for spiritual insight as Andrew. Blessings.