By Alan Mowbray –
William Shakespeare wrote, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Or would it? If Donald Trump changed his name to Gladys Smith, would all the prestige, trust, and brand recognition follow him to his new name? Hardly.
Our names are important. They appear to be an empty slate when we are born; yet, when our parents named us, they bestowed upon us part of God’s plan for us—potential waiting to be realized as we grow and learn. Have you ever wondered how your name fits into God’s plan for your life?
In Acts 4, a man named Joseph sold some land and gave all the proceeds to the apostles for the use of the young church. He received great honor and blessing for this act. His name means “he will add.” Prior to this, he had been given the nickname of Barnabas, which, as stated in verse 36 means “son of encouragement.” Was he living up to his name?
Israel sent 12 spies into the Promised Land to scope out the situation. Only two had a positive report upon return. Do you remember their names? Joshua and Caleb.
Joshua means “Jehovah is Salvation.” His report to Moses, if followed, would have permitted a whole generation to see the Promised Land. He saw that the Lord would see them through. Because his report was unheeded, that generation perished in the wilderness.
Caleb, whose name means “dog”(as in tenacious fighter, loyal), yearned to enter the Promised Land as well, boldly asking for the most dangerous lands to conquer—at eighty years of age..
Barnabas honored God with his giving. A couple named Ananias and Sapphira coveted the honor and blessing that Barnabas received and sold some land as well. Their story in Acts 5 does not have a happy ending. Conspiring to steal honor and blessing they lied about the sale total to the Holy Spirit and the apostles. That lie carried a price of immediate death.
The name Ananias means “Grace of God.” He took advantage that grace. And, with a meaning like “Woman of Beauty,” isn’t it sad that such a beautiful name as Sapphira is considered cursed by the world?
So the question is… How sweet is the fragrance of your name to God? Is its scent filled with the vision of provision that God has promised you, or does it stink of defeats, compromises, and lies to the Holy Spirit? Looking at myself, I’m not pleased. There are parts of my life that are flowing great, while other parts reveal weakness, failure, and deception. And still He loves me. Praise God for his grace!
As for the other ten spies, here are their names and meanings:
Shammah – Renowned, or heard of God
Shapat – Judge, to judge or avenge
Igal – Avenger
Palti – Deliverance from the Lord
Gaddiel – the fortune of God
Gaddi – Fortunate
Ammiel – People of God
Sethur – Hidden
Nahbi – also means Hidden
Geuel – Majesty of God
What if each of these men had returned an honest and accurate report instead of doubt?
Would their names be honored like Joshua and Caleb?
Father God, whose name is the Name Above All Names, I praise you! Thank you for my name. Guide me in fulfilling the destiny to which it is linked. As a child grafted into the vine, I will strive to honor my Father’s name through my actions. I ask for wisdom and draw from your love and strength to release that potential which you have given me. Glorified is your Name! Amen!