History books tell us of an incident in the life of Napoleon. A man once approached the French emperor and said, “I am very pleased to meet you! You see, my name is the same as yours.”
Knowing that the man had a poor reputation, Napoleon was incensed and exclaimed: “Either live up to your name or change it!”
We may not take names very seriously in our culture, but in the Middle East, a person’s name is given in honor of a beloved relative, or because it has been in the family for generations.
In Bible times, a name was chosen very carefully and very deliberately in order to indicate what kind of person the child would be. Also, a name was reflective of a person’s character, personality and abilities.
This is why some of the names of the people in the Bible were changed. Peter’s original name was Cephas, but Jesus changed it to Peter, meaning “the rock.” Abram was changed to Abraham, which means “the father of many.” From God’s perspective, a new name is consistent with a new mission.
God’s name, however, never changes. He is Jehovah, which means “the self-existent one.” He is self-sufficient. He does not need anything or anyone in order to exist. However, He desires our worship, praise and fellowship. He loves us with an everlasting love.
The more we learn about Him, the more we understand His faithfulness, justice, and mercy. When we grasp the depth of God’s sovereignty, we also realize His wondrous gift of grace was given with a purpose. Not only do we receive salvation, but we also receive His name! We become members of His family — joint heirs with Christ. Now that is worthy of all our praise!
Prayer: There are so many beautiful facets to Your nature, Lord. Thank You for the many names You have that testify of Your goodness! Continue to reveal Your nature to me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. —Psalms 103:1
Praising God should be a blessing, not an obligation. When we praise God, we deepen our fellowship with Him, are empowered to overcome temptation, and are strengthened to face difficulties. Praise does this by honoring God and aligning us with His desires. Through Dr. Michael Youssef’s book Empowered by Praise, you will learn how to praise the Lord more effectively by uncovering the keys to biblical praise.