We all have a name. Mine is Rebecca. For a long time, I didn’t realize the weight it carried. In Hebrew, the meaning of my name means “snare, tie, join.” Biblically, the name has a few, negative connotations. For instance, in Genesis, Rebekah wished to ensnare her husband, Isaac. She wanted to trick him into giving Jacob, their second-born, the elder son’s birthright. Interestingly enough, though, it’s been prophesied over me that I am a reconciler of people, not a snare of deceit or confusion.
This title “reconciler” closely resembles the idea of joining or tying together as my name suggests, but it’s turned for a positive purpose. I don’t know the full extents of this reconciliation in my life, but I believe that God has a purpose for that in my ministry, whether I reconcile friends and family or the Body of Christ back to Him.
When someone says my name, “Hey, Rebecca! Becca, how are you?” they aren’t calling me a snare; they are constantly declaring that “reconciler” identity over me. “Hey, Reconciler! Reconciler, how are you?” They are calling forth my purpose and destiny.
Jesus, in Hebrew, is Yeshua. “Yeshua” means “Savior” or “The Lord is Salvation.” He has, most certainly, fulfilled His purpose as Savior. Then, there’s Gideon, a timid man in the Bible whose name means “warrior.” God sought Gideon out, continuously affirming the purpose inside of him, making him strong and victorious in battle. We also have Hadassah who is often known by the name “Esther.” Hadassah means “compassion,” and, man, she is one of the most compassionate people I’ve ever heard of or read about. She saves her people, the Jews, from being destroyed by risking her own life. That’s how much she cares for them.
I know you may be thinking, “Okay, all these people are great, but what if my name doesn’t mean something positive?” Let me just say, you are in for an incredible journey! You get the gift and honor of a name-change. Just as my name, seemingly devious or void of purpose, can be turned around for God’s glory, so can yours. I’m not the only example of this occurrence. As mentioned before, Rebekah and Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob. They were twins, and when Jacob came out of the womb, he was holding onto Esau’s ankle. His name literally meant “holder of the heel.” This name would work against him as his mother encouraged and convinced him to steal his brother’s birthright, figuratively grabbing Esau by the heel and sweeping him right out of his promised inheritance.
Jacob tricked his poor father into believing he was Esau, so Isaac unknowingly blessed Jacob-in-disguise. Even after such a massive mistake, this man that stole a birthright still ended up finding favor with our Heavenly Father. Jacob was given a new name by God: “Israel.” This new name meant “May God prevail” or “God perseveres, contends.” Genesis 32:28 states, “And He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed’” (NKJV).
Take Abraham as another prime example. His original name was Abram, very close to the one he acquires in the story. “Abram” means “high father.” This was ironic because Abram and his wife, Sarah, were extremely old–around 90 years of age. What purpose did his name serve if he was unable to produce offspring? In Genesis 17:5, God decides to add two, simple letters: “No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations” (NIV). Abram goes from being childless to being called the spiritual father of all the Israelites and more. He is the father of us all as we are descendants of his bloodline through Christ. Later, Isaac, Abraham’s flesh and blood, is born in Genesis, chapter 21.
Abraham went from no children to thousands of children before his physical child was born. What does that say about God’s goodness towards us? Romans 4:17 tells us God called that which was not (Abram a father) as though it were. He spoke it into existence because, in all actuality, the purpose inside of Abram was already there; It just needed to be recognized. It needed to be called forth, and God gave Abram the new name, “Abraham,” as it was more fitting for what God was about to do in his life. If Abraham, who was discouraged, mustered up his faith enough to believe in something as “crazy” and incredible as that, we have the ability to believe in what we think is impossible.
On a larger scale, God’s name has infinite meanings, numerous that we have yet to realize. And guess what? He is all of those names. He is our Father who cares for us (Matthew 23:9). He is Jehovah Jireh, our Provider, who supplies our needs and desires, according to His plan (Ephesians 3:20-21; Philippians 4:19). He is Jehovah Rapha, our Healer (Psalm 30:2). He is Jehovah Shalom, our Peace (Philippians 4:7). He is everything holy, wonderful, worthy, and beautiful. Bible.org perfectly states, “In Scripture, the names of God are like miniature portraits and promises.” We can rely on His names to portray the very essence of who He is, and we can rest on the knowledge that His character will never change.
Names are a reflection of our callings. They are either full of life or death, but we can choose to transform what was meant for evil into good. God is calling you forth today and every day by your name and is giving you a new title that holds more weight than any other ever could: you are His. You are His son and His daughter, you are co-heirs with Christ, and that in itself is powerful enough to shake the gates of hell and bring the heavens to the earth.
Featured Image by Amador Loureiro