The Name

When a good friend of mine had a baby not too long ago, our old congregation at the Presbyterian church where we met was insistent on knowing the baby’s name – as most of her friends were. Yet the Lord whispered to me that it was not yet time for her to share it before I had the opportunity to ask.

She asked me, “Why are people so obsessed with knowing his name?”

Many times we ask our expectant mother friends a similar question: Have you chosen a name yet?

This story came into mind the other day because I learned something about ancient culture and the mystical beliefs surrounding one’s name. To share a name was to release power – it was an act of vulnerability or submission. Furthermore, revealing the correct pronunciation of that name was a sign of trust.

This concept is easy to understand. If I say your name within earshot, it is expected for you to acknowledge me. But if I don’t know your name or I pronounce it incorrectly, you cannot be expected to react.

There are so many layers to this.

I think of missed conversations with new acquaintances because they don’t know I’m talking to them because I haven’t remembered their name yet.

I think of the power behind naming a child, born and unborn to us here on earth or straight into heaven. All will answer us one day.

I think of how we give our names so easily these days – to get a cup of coffee and how indicative it is of a society who longs to be truly and deeply known – and to then be reminded by someone of who we are.

I think of how people change their names… and why they do it.

And I think, most of all, of the precious name of our Creator, and how He handed it over to us, His creation, so willingly.

What does it mean that God revealed His holy name to Moses for the Israelites in the burning bush before their long journey through the wilderness? And what does it mean that yet again, He gave His name to Mary, His Mother, before He arrived?

What a gift to know the precious name of the LORD.

In the Bible, when we read that all caps “LORD” it is really a symbol for His actual name.

Do you remember what He told Moses? Do you remember our LORD’s name?

He said, “Tell them I AM sent you.”


And what was the name the Angel told to Mary?

Jesus. Meaning I AM saves.

In both of these times, the LORD came after hundreds of years of near silence between Himself and His people. He came to remind them not only of who He was, but also to remind them of who they were.

They were the ones who received the message of His name because He came to fulfill His promises to them.

He wants now what He wanted then: He wants you to call on His name, for you to know Him deeply and intimately, like a father – like a friend.

He wants to answer you when you call to Him, to answer your longings to be known.

On the flip side, what does it mean to take His name, His holy and precious name, given intentionally and freely to us, in vain?

It means to affix His name onto our own motives. It means to assign His intentions to our own. It means to place our will before His. It means to falsely place His name on our outward actions.

Remember, as He reminded us in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ Will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; leave Me, you who practice lawlessness!”

When was the last time you spoke to our LORD, or listened to Him, in quiet conversation? Are you just going through the cultural Christianity and checking boxes?

Will He recognize you as one who called His name?

Note: I began writing this excerpt on the last day of January, without knowing that in the Church, the month of January is dedicated to His Holy Name. And so this excerpt is dedicated, wholly, to the precious name of Jesus.

Let us know your thoughts? Were we right on or do we need more coffee?