Thursday, August 12, 2010

What's your spiritual surname?

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Isaiah 3:13-4:6

TO CHEW ON: "And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man saying, 'We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by your name to take away our reproach.'" Isaiah 4:1

The custom in our culture for a married woman to change her surname to that of her husband is ancient. Isaiah refers to it in our reading today when he talks about the desperate state of Israel's women.

In vivid poetry Isaiah describes their flirtatious ways. The result of their unfaithfulness is judgment. Their alluring points become disgusting. The men of the nation are slaughtered in war till there is such a shortage of men we see the scene described in our focus verse: seven women begging one man to give them the respectability of marriage and the right to take his name.

Name (Hebrew: shem) means renown, fame, memorial, character. The root suggests marking or branding. In the New Testament the equivalent Greek word is onoma. Besides referring to a specific person, onoma is also used for all the things that a name implies such as rank, authority, character and reputation.

Taking on another's name, as in marriage, is identification at the deepest level. God, using prophets like Isaiah, spoke about how He desired Israel and Judah to marry Him, to identify with Him, to be true to Him. He wanted them to take His name. This was His heart for them then, and is still His heart for us today:

      “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
      I have called you by your name;
      You are Mine." - Isaiah 43:1

Through His name we receive many benefits:
His is a most excellent, exalted name that will someday cause every conscious being to worship (Philippians 2:9-11).

Doesn't all that just make you want to live under the covering of His name forever? The end of our reading today describes the pleasant result:

"And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain." Isaiah 4:6

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to discover the beauty of identifying with You at a marriage/name-change level. Amen.

MORE: "Your Name" by Paul Baloche

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

1 comment:

  1. Love this song, Violet--and the truth of this message!


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