“Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ it shall be said to them, ‘Children of the living God.’ And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband.’ I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord… And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’” Hosea 1:10; 2:16,19-20,23
Names, owned by us, are labels we wear for others. Boat names are intriguing for the snippets they reveal about their owners, and while some are mysterious and codified, others are blatant in announcing what drives, describes, or matters to the ones who possess them. What is painted on my boat?
In the Scriptures, names are important, often used by God as prophetic or to illustrate the character of the child given the name. God changed the names of several of His beloved leaders, explaining that they would ‘no longer be/do’ something, and now would ‘be/do’ something else. The beautiful promise to Israel in Hosea is to all who believe in Jesus. (Genesis 17:5; 25:26; 32:28)
There is much talk about identity these days: some are inborn, some chosen. We tend to identify ourselves by our experiences, work, family reputation, upbringing, education, children, political beliefs, religious affiliation (or not). We can identify ourselves by our sin, unable to shake off the tendrils of shame, regret, pain, or memories. But when we become Christ’s, we become members of His family and receive a new identity, a new name. We receive His mercy that transforms who we were into who He has made us to be. We who were enemies, aliens, strangers, captive to judgment, become recipients of lavish mercy, and are renamed God’s own, His people, beloved. (Romans 5:6,8,10; 8:15; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:1-5; Colossians 1:21-22)
“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, he who formed you: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine… For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One.., your Savior. You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.'” Isaiah 43:1,3-4
How well do I wear my name as Christ’s? With boldness? Grace? Serenity? Confidence? Honor? Humility? Thankfulness? Are there areas in my speech, my habits, my choices of entertainment, my management of resources, my reactions to people and situations, where I dishonor His family name? Would the label others use for me reflect my standing in Christ’s grace?
Faithful Bridegroom, may I never get over that You have called me Your own, and betrothed me to You forever. As You have inscribed my name on Your hands, so may I write Yours on every part of my life, so others see You are my God. (Isaiah 49:16)