Names and Meanings

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 ESV)

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Photo taken last September while on the Erie Canal

 

Every ADVENTure packs its own meaning.

Naming things began back in Eden.

God named Adam. Adam named Eve. Adam and Eve gave names to their sons. After the anguish of Cain and Abel, Eve gave birth to a another son. She named him Seth and she assigned meaning to his name:

“God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” (Genesis 4:25 ESV)

Names and their meanings fascinate me. When we were thinking of buying our boat, I immediately asked for the privelege of naming it. The word “intuition” popped into my head. I asked my husband what he thought and he agreed it was a good name for our boat. Most boats have names that indicate that their owners’ fortunes have been sunk into their boat. And ours has that play on words, if you dig for it. We jokingly say that we dipped “in (to) tuition” funds for our boys to pay for the boat.

But the name has a deeper meaning than that for me. The Latin root for intuition means “the act of contemplating,” which fits the desired purpose of boating and travelling for us. When we are out and away, it’s  time to explore, discover and enjoy God’s creation. It’s a place that we retreat to contemplate our life together and with God.

So, here I am today, not only contemplating our surroundings and the next part of our journey, but also the ADVENTure of naming a son.

During Zechariah’s conversation with Gabriel, he was instructed to name his son, John. But no one knew this because Zechariah was forced to remain mute on the subject. Then the time came . . . well . . . I’ll let Luke tell us:

“Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.”  And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called.  And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered.  And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.  And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea,  and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.” (Luke 1:57-66 ESV)

Don’t name him after his father, Elizabeth asserts. Not Zechariah, which means “Jehovah remembers,” but John, which means “Yahweh is gracious.” Both very meaningful names. Names that reveal God’s character. Yet John is the chosen name for this son. The messenger who will prepare the way of Grace himself.

God is gracious. God remembers.

What does it mean to you that God remembers

and is gracious at the same time?

(I am scheduling this post for this evening, as we may be out of internet range for a few days, so please forgive me if I don’t respond right away to your comments 🙂

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