Know My Name? Know Me?

By on July 1, 2011

By Janelle Alberts –

My husband picked out the names for each of our kids. I just didn’t have insight as to what we should call them. Then the first time I held each, I thought – “It’s you.”

 

Before a name, before a relationship, I recognized them.

I thought of this when I recently read that the Old Testament Rachel initially named her second son Ben-Oni (loosely, son of my troubles). Um, thanks mom. She perished in childbirth and it was her last breath, so we could give her a break I guess. But still.

Rachel’s husband Jacob renamed the boy Benjamin. Then God renamed Jacob Israel. Then I began to think that the people throughout this Bible get named and renamed a lot.

And so does God.

God gets a little cagey when being pinned down on what He wants to be called. He told Moses, “Tell the Israelites that ‘I Am’ sent you.”
Clear as mud.

Oddly enough, His identity was crystal to clear to some of the most unlikely characters.

Like Rahab. She wasn’t of the lineage of Abraham and she was a prostitute. But some of God’s men showed up at her boudoir and she told them she’d help them, because she believed in their God.

Given her line of work, one might’ve asked, “Ahem, boys…just what’d you pick this place for?”

But as readers we’re only given insight to this: Rahab had picked their God. She was familiar with Him and she called Him by name.
New Testament characters stumble on God’s name. Religious teachers doubt Jesus’ identity. Even John the Baptist asks late in the game to be sure, “Are you the One?”

But ask the demons and bam! They know God and know Him well. No questions asked except why are you here so soon and where can I hide?
I suppose it’s not in knowing a name, it’s in knowing. And if there’s one thing we can glean from what is written – this God doesn’t like to be confused for somebody else.

I can relate.

It wasn’t that long ago that I told my husband that I couldn’t bear to write about the Bible and such. What an undertaking! What if I messed it up? “I mean seriously honey,” I’d whined to him. “I’m just a housewife!”

“My darling,” he’d cupped my face. “I’ve eaten your dinners. I have seen your ironing. You, my dear, are no housewife.”
Beyond a name – recognizable. There’s nothing better.

Janelle Alberts spent her early career managing crisis communication needs for Microsoft, UPS and Wells Fargo. Alberts joined the Akron Beacon Journal online religion page in the summer of 2010. Alberts sets out in The Bible Book Club to observe the messaging strategy of one historical icon who is consistently quoted but inconsistently represented – God and His world’s best-selling book, the Bible. You can find Janelle at http://ohio.webfactional.com/faith_folly/.

About Janelle Alberts

Janelle Alberts spent her early career managing crisis communication needs for Microsoft, UPS and Wells Fargo. Alberts joined the Akron Beacon Journal online religion page in the summer of 2010. Alberts sets out in The Bible Book Club to observe the messaging strategy of one historical icon who is consistently quoted but inconsistently represented – God and His world’s best-selling book, the Bible. You can find Janelle at http://ohio.webfactional.com/faith_folly/.

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Know My Name? Know Me?