What’s in a Name?

“I’m skeered for my life!” the trembling woman huffed and puffed to the peace officer. Laying a hand on his billy club, he said in an even voice, “Ma’am, I don’t see anyone.”

“Onliest reason ’cause my legs can still giddyup and go. She ain’t kilt me yet. But I tell ya, there’s murder in her heart! She pitched a hissy fit and spit out the awfulest names. She sez to me, ‘Ya nothin’ but a noun! Extra adjective! Lifeless adverb!'”

The skeletal version of this true anecdote was in an old book (title and author forgotten) that I read some forty years ago. If only that woman had comprehended the words cutting her to the quick were no more than innocuous names of parts of speech, she would not have tailspinned into a pit of anxiety. Her ignorance pushed her into the vise grip of a life-threatening fear.

More than likely, she would not have been scared to death if she had been called “Jezebel,” because she would have already understood the meaning within the name. For millenniums it has been a notorious byword for a depraved woman. Even those who do not know the specifics of this queen’s shameful behavior hear the name as connoting a woman of boundless wickedness. It’s not nice to be thought of as a Jezebel, but it’s not the blackest of all name-calling.

That would be “You Judas!” The betrayer of the Son of God–God Incarnate–Judas lives in infamy as the epitome of treacherous villainy. His name is heard universally as the symbol for traitors and turncoats bar none.

Names are potent. Knowledge of the meaning encapsulated in a name, or lack thereof, produces life-changing results. Take, for instance, Yahweh-Shammah (Jehovah-Shammah), one of God’s self-revealing compound names.

The first part is God’s personal name, which may also be translated I AM or LORD. When Shammah is added, the meaning becomes “The LORD is there.”

God, armed with all His attributes, is already in our tomorrow–our next circumstance. The LORD is there, the LORD is here, the LORD is everywhere.

2 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. I read your post and wondered, about my own faith. It wavers and wobbles a bit these days as I volunteer for a group who attempt to help others. The reason for the doubts is the strength of evil that is working its way through the world. Though I do get help/ relief from my doubts by reading sites such as yours. Thank you.


  2. You are welcome, Mudpilewood. When I have feelings like yours, I immediately remind myself that God is sovereign. He knows what He’s about. He knows the end from the beginning. Nothing–absolutely nothing–happens that He does not permit. Who am I to question God’s plan and how he wants to work His plan? I must trust Him for the things I do not see and understand, knowing He will bring me in on His “secrets” if and when it is best for me. Here is one passage that helps: “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 from the Amplified Bible).


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