What’s in a Name? – by Pastor Fred Garnes
They say that a rose by any other name would smell the same, but would it? Names are important. God gave specific names to every part of his creation as recorded in the first chapter of Genesis. Their names reveal function and purpose. Without specific names assigned to things in our world, their value and purpose is lost, and understanding (the root of communication) is impossible. To Adam, the first man, God gave the mind bending task of naming the animals. Those names exist to this day, and are appropriate for the unique qualities and behaviors of each animal that Adam named. When you say “Moose, Giraffe” or “Hippopotamus” certain and fitting characteristics come to mind. Your mind can’t imagine an Elephant being called a Giraffe in one part of the world and a swan in another. These God given animal traits and characteristics were described perfectly by Adam’s magnificent mind without prior reference or collaboration. Because names are important to God, they should be important to us.
No matter what your name is, it distinguishes you from all the other people you share this planet with. You and your name are unique. Although your name may be the same as a famous athlete, a renowned painter, a great theologian, or someone who has left a huge footprint in history, it’s still you and not them. You are not that other person, whose name happens to be the same as yours.
What would your response be if your name were misspelled on your graduation program or certificate? Think of how you feel when someone mispronounces your name throughout an entire conversation. Your name’s correct spelling and sweet sound are beautiful and unique. It is you. God calls you his workmanship, and he calls you one of his children. Your name has royalty and eternity attached to it.
How would you expect Jesus, whose name is above every other name, whose name is the name at which every knee shall bow, is whose name is the name that makes demons tremble, and whose name is the only name under heaven by which men must be saved, to feel about his matchless name?
Should he care about how that name is valued, honored, thought about, spoken of, written about, or even whispered? The bearer of that name would want and expect absolute love, worship, adoration, and reverence for that name. Zero tolerance for any misuse of his holy name would be the law, and it is. Violation of this law would be a crime that is more serious than treason. This is what the Sovereign of the universe desires, deserves, and demands. It is his rightful due. God takes seriously any misuse or abuse of his name, and also any misquote or misapplication of his Word, which bears witness of his name. Likewise, how we treat others, his image bearers or all who bear his stamp as their creator, God takes seriously.
His passion for his name is described in the ancient text of Ezekiel 36:22-23 It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.
His name and His fame to all proclaim!
Pastor Fred G. 5.14.2013