A cute little terrier mix puppy arrived at our house last week. She’s about 5 months old and couldn’t be properly taken care of by her previous owner. So being suckers for furry canine faces, we decided to give her a new home and adopt her into our pack. So far, she is getting along with the other dogs, and even our high strung yorkie is enjoying the ‘elevated’ level of puppy activity. The only thing we didn’t like about her was her name, Madeline. It just seemed to be too laid back of a handle for such an active bundle of energy. So, after much debate, we picked a new name for her… one that seems more fitting to who she really is.
You know, God is known for doing the same kind of thing.
The book of Genesis contains a story of the re-branding of a familiar Old Testament figure. At birth, Isaac’s second son was given the name ‘Jacob’, which means “supplanter, schemer, and/or deceiver.” (Gen. 25:24-26) The text from Genesis 27 shows how he lived up to his label by manipulating his brother out of his birthright and then deceiving his father in order to steal his brother’s blessing, effectively robbing him of his inheritance. Then, many years later, Jacob engaged in his famous all-night wrestling match with the Lord (Gen. 32:22-26), but before he ceased his struggle, he demanded a blessing… This time a real blessing and not a stolen one. The Angel of the Lord responded by asking his name. (vs 27) It was then that the father of the future Jewish nation finally stopped pretending to be someone else and admitted who he really was … Jacob … a schemer & a deceiver. The scene culminated with a dramatic name change. No longer to be known as Jacob, his new name would be Israel (vs 28) … which is sometimes translated as “Prince of God.”
Jesus did that for the people he met and knew as well! Outcasts were renamed ‘disciples.’ Sinners, He called ‘companions.’ The immoral, He labeled ‘forgiven.’ The unwanted, He marked as ‘Beloved.’
When you become a Christian and join your life to Christ, God will do that for you too. When Christ becomes your Savior and brother, the Father adopts you into His family and renames you as His own. No longer do you have to wear labels of shame and worthlessness. When you come clean about your guilt and sin and stop pretending, He offers a brand new start and will immediately rename you as “Valuable,” “Cherished,” and “Loved.”
“And you will be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord will give.
You will be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
a king’s crown in the hand of your God.
You will no longer be called “Left Alone.”
Your land will no longer be called “Forgotten.”
But you will be called “My joy is in her,” and your land “Married.”
For the Lord finds joy in you.”
~ Isaiah 62:2-4 (NLV)