“..that which is called a rose by any other name, would smell as sweet”, or so Shakespeare would have us believe through his timeless classic lyrical tale of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, where Juliet feels that a name is just another ordinary, or worse still, a meaningless convention.
So what is in a name? What is the importance of what you are called? Pretty much, if you have to take the Bible at its word!
One passage which really fascinates me is taken from Genesis 2:19, 20
Here, God, in His awesomeness, creates the world and everything in it, and brings them all to Adam “to see what he would call them”. But Adam had no pressure to perform, because he is already so marvelled and awe struck at the created beings, that he skips a heartbeat and calls each creature exactly what he sincerely and passionately feels inside of him.
So when one royal animal, complete with a velvet mane on its head, walks down majestically and comes forward to roar a greeting at Adam, he just says “Wow! Majestic!” And then, when one black-and-white, striped animal comes and does a graceful dance before him, Adam is so gleeful that he calls it “Cheerful”. And again, when a colourful winged insect flutters by him, he is so mesmerised that he calls it..well..”Mesmerising!” Not to forget, there’s the bird with a sweet honey voice he calls “Melodious” and the angel white creature so pure he names it “Innocent”.
So if you and I spoke ancient Adamic, you would have probably figured out how the Lion, the Zebra, the Butterfly, the Nightingale and the Dove got its name!
“And whatever Adam called every living creature, that was its name” (Gen 2:19). Whatever Adam called each creature, it stuck to them, and they either resembled the name, or their characteristics evolved around them to suit those names. Isn’t it amazing to be named something that what you really are?
There are famously decorated personalities with starry names who have lived their lives true to their names. (Eve, the mother of all living; Jesus, the salvation; Solomon, the peaceful one) There are some unfortunate ones who had to bear with some overtly embarrassing names which were peaks into their funny pasts. (Esau, the hairy one; Moses, drawn out of water; Isaac, because his parents found it really funny that they would bear a child at the age of 90 and 100.) What we also see is that there are those people who have been renamed to align them with their more happening and God ordained destinies! Jacob, the cheat who became Israel (God contends); Serai who was called Sarah (princess), Abram, with no greatness is then called Abraham (father of a multitude).
There are distinct others like Job which means persecuted, and persecuted he was but for a cause. And God lifts him high after the persecution.
The world called Zaccheus a shrewd shorty, without realising that his name meant ‘pure’, the same purity which attracted Jesus to him.
Names are identities, personalities and destinies.
You have a name by which God has called you with, because He formed you with an innate ability to fulfil His divine purpose, and planted in you a characteristic that you are known by to Him, no matter what the world terms you. When others see you as a depressed one, as a failure, a loser, a loner, a nobody, God calls you ‘My beloved’, ‘strong fighter/warrior’, ‘mighty man/woman of valour’, ‘My child’ and ‘precious one’ among others.
God Himself has wondrous names. He is Jehovah Shalom (peace) to the distressed. He is Jehovah Rapha (healer) to the sick. He is Jehovah Nissi (victory) to the battered and weary. He is Jehovah Jireh my provider. He is El Shaddai (The Almighty)!
What is it that the world terms you? Would you believe that, or rather have Abba Father name you something He calls you with passion?