What Is in A Name?
Have you ever looked up the meaning of your name?
In biblical times your name was not picked from a book of the ‘Most Popular Names for Boys and Girls in 253 B.C.’, names had meaning.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about Jabez. Jabez had a name that followed him everywhere he went from the day he was born. His mother named him Jabez, which meant “he causes pain.”
Maybe his mother called him that so she would be reminded of the agony of childbirth, or perhaps she named him Jabez so she could remember how she survived something she thought she might not.
Some Hebrews named their children based on the vision they had for their lives.
Jabez’ mother could have foreseen something in his future that would cause great pain.
Regardless of why or how Jabez was named, the poor guy walked around carrying a warning sign for others to stay away from him because his very name proclaimed who he was and what he would bring with him.
My husband and I recently investigated the meanings of our names. What we found was eye-opening. When my husband read his name meant ‘someone who takes what is not theirs,’ he jumped up and said, “how do I get a new name?” His worried expression told me he was not playing around. He wanted a name he could be proud of and one that did not have negative connotations attached to it; I expect that must have been how Jabez must have felt about his name too.
Jabez did not let his name keep him from being a man who loved the Lord and one of prayer. I am happy to report that my husband is also a man of God and a mighty pray-er.
One day Jabez stood before the Lord and prayed, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” (1 Chronicles 4:10).
Do you want to know what happened next? Scripture tells us God granted his request. Just like that. Before Jabez wrapped up his prayer, God honored his plea with a resounding YES.
God cares about the names people have given us. He cares about the names we have given ourselves. Names like stupid, fat, lazy, divorced, skinny, ugly, abandoned, and so many more that we have taken on as our label, names that we have let define us.
What if, instead of accepting those names we cry out to God as Jabez did and asked for His hand to be with us and that He would keep us from being called those names again?
God has names He is waiting to give us if we ask for them.
He calls us chosen, righteous, the head and not the tail, the first and not the last.
I encourage you to read the story of Jabez this week. Let God show you the names that have been placed upon you, and ask Him to show you the names He wants to call you. Ask Him to call you those names; ask Him to extend your tent pegs so you can influence those around you for His names sake. He will answer you. And He will answer you far quicker than you could ever imagine.
“He has a plan for you, and it is a good one!” Jeremiah 29:11