Devotions

Devotions

Today’s Devotion

“And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.”  Genesis 35:18
 
Many children are being saddled with strange names nowadays, such as the boy whose sports-minded parents named him Espn. Or the boy whose famous parents named him X Æ A-Xii. It seems like parents are in a contest of finding the strangest name for their child to out-do one another. In colonial times, parents sometimes opened the Bible at random and selected the first word they saw, which led one child to be named Notwithstanding Griswold.
 
There are some strange names in the Old Testament, too. Most of the time, names had a special meaning, either indicating something special that happened or describing a characteristic of the person or a hope or prayer for the child. In Genesis 35, as Rachel struggled in childbirth, she named her son Ben-Oni, which means “Son of My Sorrow.” Imagine having a name that would constantly remind you that your birth had caused your mother’s death! Graciously, the boy’s father, Jacob, discarded that name and called him Benjamin, which means “Son of My Right Hand” – a designation of honour in the home.
 
Often we struggle and suffer in life. Times of trouble can leave us bitter and feeling defeated, and we can go through life with negative emotions. But we shouldn’t let those situations define the outcome or our character. Too often, we let external events and experiences shape our thinking, personality and character, instead of allowing God to use our mind, personality and character to shape how we experience those external events. We need to remember and put an effort forth to trust the Lord to bring honour out of suffering and triumph out of tears. That’s when we walk by faith and by faith see things in a different light. Jacob had that perspective. Instead of letting the sorrow of the moment (his wife’s death) shape his view towards his son and life in general, he focused on the hope of the Lord in giving him a young son to be at his right hand and to carry on her legacy and life. Faith always sees things differently.
 
And faith in God’s promises is a winning strategy – it was the tribe of Benjamin that later produced Israel’s first king and the great apostle Paul. Do you know what your name means? Does it refer to something special that happened in your parents’ life? Does it describe one of your characteristics or personality? Is it a hope or prayer for you by your parents? Were you named after a special person or Biblical character? Has your perception of your name (dull, common, embarrassing, important, meaningful, unique) shaped who you are and how you view life? Do you have a nickname that has influenced you and your attitude toward life? Most importantly, have you received a new, special and royal name – one named after the Saviour Jesus Christ? Are you called “Christian”? If so, what does that convey to you and to those around you? Has it shaped your thinking, behaviour, actions and attitudes? It should have and it better be. You carry a most important name – follower of Christ or Christ-one. Consider that today and strive to live accordingly.”And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.”  Luke 19:5

Many of us are bad at remembering names, yet one of the greatest things we can do for someone is properly acknowledge his or her name, especially within the first few times meeting them. Whether famous or obscure, it builds ties with people when we remember and use their names. It makes people feel good, recognized and loved when others know who they are and call them by name. 
Think how Zacchaeus must have felt. He knew Jesus’ name and had heard of Him, but they had never met and he never would have thought that Jesus would know who he was. Yet, how amazed and shocked he must have felt when Jesus stopped right under the tree he was perched in, looked up, and called him personally by name. It’s almost surprising that he didn’t fall out of the tree right then and there.  

Consider how Saul must have felt, when he was stopped on the road to Damascus by a blinding light and heard a voice calling his name. Notice the first thing that Saul says to the voice – “Who are you Lord?” He rightly assumed that this voice was God’s, but he certainly wasn’t expecting this voice to be that of Jesus of Nazareth, whose followers he was pursuing and persecuting. The Bible records Saul’s response to this revelation by Jesus as trembling and astonished (literally stupefied or astounded). Everything that Saul was doing, working and fighting for was completely wrong and contrary to God, even though he was utterly convinced that he was in the right. You can almost imagine over the next few days as he blindly waited, how often he kept repeating to himself, “Jesus. Jesus is really God’s Son. I can’t believe that I have been fighting against God’s Son.”

How wonderful that God knows our names. Have you ever noticed how often Jesus called people by their names in the Gospels: Martha, Martha … Go and tell John … Blessed are you, Simon Barjonah … Lazarus, come forth! Even more wonderful a thought is that God not only knows our name, but He knows every part of us intimately. He knows more about us than we know about ourselves. That’s why His love is so intimate, personal, perfect and wonderful, because in spite of knowing our imperfection and sin, He still loves us.

God knows your name; it’s written on His heart, and He loves you. Take the time today to be still and quiet and talk to Him in prayer. Call Him by His names – Yahweh, Jehovah, Father, Creator, Jesus, Lord, King – and listen for Him calling your name. God is calling you by name to fellowship, communion and a personal, intimate relationship. Listen for Him calling your name, then make haste and answer Him, for today He wants to abide in your heart.
Copyright © 2021, Mark Varga, All rights reserved.“And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.”  Genesis 35:18
 
Many children are being saddled with strange names nowadays, such as the boy whose sports-minded parents named him Espn. Or the boy whose famous parents named him X Æ A-Xii. It seems like parents are in a contest of finding the strangest name for their child to out-do one another. In colonial times, parents sometimes opened the Bible at random and selected the first word they saw, which led one child to be named Notwithstanding Griswold.
 
There are some strange names in the Old Testament, too. Most of the time, names had a special meaning, either indicating something special that happened or describing a characteristic of the person or a hope or prayer for the child. In Genesis 35, as Rachel struggled in childbirth, she named her son Ben-Oni, which means “Son of My Sorrow.” Imagine having a name that would constantly remind you that your birth had caused your mother’s death! Graciously, the boy’s father, Jacob, discarded that name and called him Benjamin, which means “Son of My Right Hand” – a designation of honour in the home.
 
Often we struggle and suffer in life. Times of trouble can leave us bitter and feeling defeated, and we can go through life with negative emotions. But we shouldn’t let those situations define the outcome or our character. Too often, we let external events and experiences shape our thinking, personality and character, instead of allowing God to use our mind, personality and character to shape how we experience those external events. We need to remember and put an effort forth to trust the Lord to bring honour out of suffering and triumph out of tears. That’s when we walk by faith and by faith see things in a different light. Jacob had that perspective. Instead of letting the sorrow of the moment (his wife’s death) shape his view towards his son and life in general, he focused on the hope of the Lord in giving him a young son to be at his right hand and to carry on her legacy and life. Faith always sees things differently.
 
And faith in God’s promises is a winning strategy – it was the tribe of Benjamin that later produced Israel’s first king and the great apostle Paul. Do you know what your name means? Does it refer to something special that happened in your parents’ life? Does it describe one of your characteristics or personality? Is it a hope or prayer for you by your parents? Were you named after a special person or Biblical character? Has your perception of your name (dull, common, embarrassing, important, meaningful, unique) shaped who you are and how you view life? Do you have a nickname that has influenced you and your attitude toward life? Most importantly, have you received a new, special and royal name – one named after the Saviour Jesus Christ? Are you called “Christian”? If so, what does that convey to you and to those around you? Has it shaped your thinking, behaviour, actions and attitudes? It should have and it better be. You carry a most important name – follower of Christ or Christ-one. Consider that today and strive to live accordingly.
Copyright © 2021, Mark Varga, All rights reserved.
9-7-2021