Bestowing new names
I've always loved how God came into people's lives and gave them name changes. When I was reading Jesus' interaction with Peter..."You are Peter...and on this rock I will build my church." That's like my dad coming up to me and saying, "You are Jason." That is who you are. In case you forgot. In case you are gravitating back to your old name, Cephas. Your old identity.
If my father, Charles Frank Holdridge, spoke into me, Jason Matthew Holdridge, and said, "You are Jason." You are my son and your name means Healer. It would be like God saying to me:
"Your name is Jason, and on your Healing I will build my church."
God was always speaking new names over people...reversing curses...
“No longer will they call you Deserted,
Or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,
And you land Beulah.” -Isaiah 62:4
He takes the names of embarrassment:
- Deserted – abandoned, alone, rejected.
- Desolate – worthless, boring, stupid
And comes in and breathes in a brand new identity:
- Hephzibah – desirable, attractive, lovely
- Beulah – married, befriended, connected
Look at some other name changes in the Bible:
1. Jacob the Deceiver becomes…Israel the One who Overcomes. (Genesis 32:28)
2. Saul the Church-Hater becomes… Paul the Church Lover. (Acts 13:9)
3. Abram the exalted father of few becomes…Abraham the father a many nations. (Genesis 17:5-8)
4. Gideon the Wheat Thresher becomes…Gideon the Mighty Warrior. (Judges 6:11-12)
I'm sure there are more...he did it with people and people groups. And I think there is something powerful that happens in this exchange.
I hope I can do this for people who are trapped in a "shame name". Giving people "new names" is part of the redemption process.