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.

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