Saturday, July 3, 2010

What's In a Name? by Serena Haneline

Week 27--July 4-10
 Scripture Reading: Song of Solomon 7,8; Isaiah 1-19; Psalm 93-95
Key passage for devotion: Isaiah 6:

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 6:9

Six and half weeks ago, my first little niece was born. My sister and her husband kept her name a secret from everyone until the day she was born. So on May 19, I found out my niece’s name: Tilley Jade Morgan. Tilley. That was an unusual name. So, being the researching person that I am, I had to look up the meaning of it. Tilley is a form of Tilda and means “mighty in battle.” Whatever that may mean for little Tilley’s future, I think it is significant.

Names were very significant in Bible times. In Isaiah 7:3, the great prophet Isaiah had a son named Shear-jashub, which meant “a remnant shall return.” That was a very significant name at that time when Israel’s enemies were coming against them. God, through Isaiah’s offspring, was encouraging His people with a vital promise. Even Isaiah’s name was a promise from the Lord: “Yahweh is salvation.” Isaiah prophesied about the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, several times.

However, there are four names in Isaiah 9:6 that, to me, are some of the most significant names in all of God’s Word. These are the names Isaiah says that Jesus will be called. They are names that if we truly understood the meaning of, may create in us a different and more glorious picture of our Savior.

Jesus is first called “Wonderful Counselor.” Webster’s Dictionary defines “wonderful” as “exciting wonder; marvelous; astonishing.” When was the last time that Jesus astonished you? He surely astonished many people when he walked this earth, and not just because of the miracles he did. Jesus was marvelous in his charisma, his kindness, his authority, his passion, and the list could go on and on.

But this word is defining the role of “counselor.” Now I have been to several Christian counselors and they have helped me through the issues of life, which is their role. But that is also Jesus’ role to us. He not only knew the counsels of God from eternity, he now counsels us. How glorious; how astonishing that God became man, and knows our every pain and sorrow. He can not only empathize with us, but he is here to give us counsel and to teach us! And there is no one who teaches like Jesus!

The next name for Jesus is “Mighty God.” He is the all-powerful One. No one in all eternity has more power than Him. “El” is the Hebrew word for “God.” It is only used when speaking of God, the one true God, and no others. He is above all and we can truly trust him. We can’t continue to put the “Mighty God” in a box. He is more powerful than my troubles, and my trials. He is God, after all!

He is also called “Everlasting Father.” Now, I, like some of you, grew up without a father. This has been the most difficult name of Jesus for me to grasp. Yet there it is; he is the father of all eternity. The father of all that is, and was, and ever will be. Wikipedia describes fathers as being “naturally protective, supportive, and responsible and are able to provide a number of significant benefits…” God is all of that and so much more! He is the father to the fatherless. And he will never leave us nor forsake us!

The last name for our Savior is the “Prince of Peace.” Jesus is royalty, our prince in shining armor who has come to save us from sin – basically, from ourselves and our pathetic attempts to reach a Holier than Holy God. He has reconciled us to God and gives us his peace, which is not as the world gives. The world sees peace as the absence of war. But Jesus gives us peace in the midst of the war; peace in the midst of struggles; and peace in the midst of pain.

I have found so much encouragement and strength in knowing these names of Jesus, who is Emmanuel (God with us). I’ve even realized that my names have meaning. My first name (Tracy) means “courage or bravery.” I have seen the Lord give me much courage when I needed it the most.

And my middle name (Serena) means “peace or serenity.” I have not been much of a “serene” person in the past. However, as I continue to grow in Him, He is bringing out the serenity in me. I am finding that he is my counselor, my God, my father and my prince and his peace comes even when the storms are all around. May He be the same to you.

Serena Haneline has a BA in journalism and religion. She currently works as an administrative assistant at a preschool. Her dream is to write a book. She resides in China Grove with her two cats, Opie and Mazy.

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