Isaiah 44 in Reflection
The Name by Which We are Called (1-5)
Have you ever reflected back on how your parents came up with your name? Maybe, you were named after an aunt, uncle, parent, grandparent, or a patron saint. For the nation Israel, the namesake came from Jacob who was later called “Israel” (Genesis 32:28). Anybody who has read about Jacob (Israel) knows that the man was not always a good man; in fact, he had learned how to be deceptive from his mother and later his uncle and, by the time he left Padanaram had become a master of deception. In light of this, why would anyone in their right mind want to refer to themselves as “Jacob” when the better name is “Israel” or, the Lord’s? I struggled with that thought this past week and I come to understand that, our name is like an empty box given to us at birth that we only we can fill; if we make good choices in life, we fill it with good things and conversely if we make poor choices bad things go in the box (Matthew 12:33). When you consider the name Christian just like the name “Israel” or “Jacob” or any other derivation, they are simply names which can either be a curse or a blessing depending on our choices. God holds us accountable for how we use his name and that is by our words, actions, and attitudes of the heart; this is something we should never forget. The outside world will always have its opinions about us, how a Christian should be, what they should stand for, and is indifferent towards those who refuse to comply. My encouragement for you today is that you reflect back on the name or title “Christian” to ask yourself “what have I put in the box of my life and what will I be leaving behind for the next generation”? We are powerless to change what others have done in the name of Christianity just as the people in the time of Isaiah could not change what the leaders of Israel had done leading up to the writing; but, that does not mean we continue the misguided paths and give credence to the world’s opinion. What we can do is, take up a cross and walk in the direction of the throne of God every day of our life.
What shall I return to the Lord for all of his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of his people (Psalms 116:12-14 NIV).
There is no other name under heaven that man can be saved (Acts 4:12). You did not give us your name for political clout nor, your word to be used as a hammer; yet, in our world, that is exactly what has been done. Daily you tell us to “pick up your cross and follow you” despite all that the world thinks of us or, what has happened in our history. For over 2000 years, your name Jesus has been a banner for mankind and from your selfless sacrifice, many millions upon millions have come to faith in you and have never been ashamed of doing so. Help me, my city, state, nation, and the world around me to ever learn the righteous acts of the Lord by how I carry myself day in and day out. May the words of mouth, the words that I write, and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you (Psalms 19:14).
In His Service
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