“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
The first thing we typically learn when we meet someone new is their name.When we think about the construction of a name, the first part of identity is the individual mantle, sometimes given with the intention that the holder will grow to embody the meaning of their name, and is meant to reveal something personal about us. The second point signifies our place in society, focusing not just on who we are, but whose we are. Our last name identifies our family, and where they are from. Some women after they get married change their last name to that of their husbands, to break the identity of belonging to their family and create a new identity of oneness with their spouse.
Many times, as God called people, the first thing He did was change their name, none so dramatic as Jacob to Israel in Genesis 32. In doing this, God shaped Jacob’s identity from beyond one who undermines/deceives (his brother) to include Himself, as according to the scripture, Israel means one who struggles with men and God, and overcomes.
Once God was able to meet Jacob in the primary way he identified, he was positioned to be changed into more than what he, his family or society expected from him. He was even able to reconcile with his brother, and have great healing and affection between them, whereas had he continued to identify the way he had his entire life before his encounter with God, would not have been possible. Today, we open that very first place we know ourselves and hold our primary identity open to God, allowing Him to reveal misconceptions about ourselves, any lies we’ve agreed with, and ask if there’s anything He wants to say about who we are first and foremost. Some will get new names, some will get new revelation of their current ones, but all will be re-identified as His.
What does your name mean? Have you found that meaning true in your life?
What is God disassociating you from in order to re-identify you as His? Are you willing to accept the exchange?
Father God, I know my name is written in Your book of life and is just as precious to You as it is to me. Reveal to me the way You see me, and highlight anything that I may primarily identify as that You are separating me from. Give me a mantle to grow into that I may be an expression of your goodness in my family and in society. Thank you for claiming me as Your own, and binding my life to Yours. Help me to walk in faith that I am first and foremost who You say I am. Amen.