Did you ever scribble your name on your lunchbox? Or on a toy you loved? Even as children, we understand that if you write your name on something, that indicates it belongs to you or that you are taking responsibility for it. But it doesn’t stop with identifying our toys; we label everything to indicate ownership, from carmakers to life vests on board ships.
In the past few days, I’ve been posting about the instances where God has changed people’s names, but I read today’s verse and had a thought of a different sort.
Today’s verse is Isaiah 62:2.
The nations will see your righteousness.
World leaders will be blinded by your glory.
And you will be given a new name
by the Lord’s own mouth.
God, through the prophet Isaiah, is actually talking about something that will happen in the future, concerning the Jewish race and the city of Jerusalem. A promise for what is to come. But as per usual, verses in Scripture can usually have more than one intention. And it’s not so much the verse itself that hit me this morning but the meaning behind it.
God gives new names. He doesn’t just change our names, but he takes our old names, our old identities, and does away with them, replacing them with something new. God is a God of second chances and third chances and fourth chances and fifth and so on and so forth. He never gives up on us, and He’s always there waiting for the day when we realize we can’t handle life on our own.
But there’s a part of naming that people forget, I think, and that’s the part about inscribing names and ownership. Because if you name something, usually it means you own it. If you name something, usually that means it belongs to you. We name our pets. We name our inventions. We name our ideas. And honestly, that’s how it works with God.
Not saying we are property to be owned, but someone has to be responsible for us. Maybe that’s a better way of looking at it. Who else is willing to take responsibility for the out-of-control mess that is my life? Who else other than God?
When we decide to follow Christ, God marks us as His own. Yes. But there’s another level of ownership going on in the universe. God created everything. He owns it all. He’s set His signature on every part of creation, and only those who are too blinded by their own importance don’t see it. And as the Creator, the Imaginer, the Owner, He has the right to do whatever He wants with what belongs to Him.
If you buy a car, people don’t get to tell you where to drive it. If you create an invention, people don’t get to tell you how to use it. Why is it different with God? He created the world, and He gave it to people to take care of. And what did we do? We turned it over to our Enemy to wreak havoc and destroy.
God is sovereign. He has the right to do as He pleases with what belongs to Him, and that includes this world, this universe, and everything down to the smallest quark–which also means you and me, whether we have chosen to follow Him or not. But even more so in the lives of those who have specifically given their lives to Him. We are so fortunate that God is good and patient and loving.
So if you are a Christ follower, don’t be thinking that you get to live however you want. If you follow Christ, don’t get the idea that you choose your own path without consequences. Even people who don’t follow Christ face consequences when they do wrong or when they choose foolishly; don’t think you’ll get away with it just because you gave your heart to Christ.
If God has changed your name, He has taken responsibility for you. He has the right to tell you how to live. And if you want to take issue with that, if you want to live in conflict with Him over that, why did you choose to follow Him in the first place?
Personally, I’m so thankful that God was willing to take responsibility for me. I have so many issues in my life that I can’t handle them on my own, and it’s a comfort to me to be able to turn it all over to Him and ask for help. And the way I look at it: He’s God. He knows. He knows what’s coming. He understands my potential. He wants to help me and do good things for me. So when He speaks, when He tells me to do something, I’m going to do it, whether it makes sense or not.