“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…” questions Juliet to Romeo in Shakespeare’s famous play. Juliet pours out her love in hopes that they can defy the fate their names will inevitably bring. Would a rose smell as sweet if it weren’t called a rose? That may have to be a discussion for a different blogger, but it does pose the question…what power is there in a Name? What about in a Word?
Although Romeo and Juliet only lived on the stages of Shakespeare’s plays, that line came to mind as I read about the power of God’s Name and His Word.
My youngest child, Zach, had a bad dream the other night. When that happens, he doesn’t join his brother on the top bunk or slide in with his sister across the hall. No, without hesitation he sets out on the trek through the living room and past the office, in the dark, to Mom and Dad’s room. There, finally safe, he can squeeze almost invisibly under the covers next to mom and it will be several moments until she realizes his presence and several more before she’s coherent enough to respond in any way! But Mom and Dad’s room holds some kind of power for him. Either bad dreams aren’t possible there or because he’s with us, or, when the bad dreams come, he won’t be scared.
God’s Name holds the same power for us. When life spins us in a bad, real-life dream, do we long to be in the Presence of the Almighty who will either command it to go away or walk with us through the dark, giving us Supernatural armor and might to defend the invading army?
My children have been memorizing the armor of God passage in Ephesians 6 this year. There’s some hidden secrets way back in the book of Exodus 28 that add depth to our breastplate of righteousness. And, yes, it also has to do with names…
Exodus 28:35 begins, “Fashion a breast piece for making decisions – the work of a skilled craftsman.” It goes on in detail of the gold, twisted linen and specific dimensions of this piece. Then, there was to be four rows of precious stones, each “engraved like a seal with the names of one of the 12 tribes.” Attaching to the breast piece by rings and blue cord was the ephod, which also held engraven names. This connected the two pieces so that the breast piece would stay in place and not move around. Here’s the neat part – verse 29 says, “Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart.” Since Old Testament times our hearts have needed to be covered. Now, not only do Aaron and the priests have the names of the 12 tribes covering them (a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ’s perfect covering to come) but they also have something holy stuck to them as they make decisions. Those names should spur them to make decisions based on whose they belong to (the Great I AM) and to glorify Him.
Compare this account with Ephesians 6:14 which says, “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place.” Why is it righteous? Because it has Jesus’ name inscribed on the front and it’s in place! That breast piece enables me to stand before the God of the Universe as blameless! Also, as I make decisions I have the reminder that I carry that name with me and the power it possesses.
The names of those who have trust Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 3:5 & 20:15) One day our name will be called and looked up in that book. At that time, no matter what credibility or disqualifications you feel your earthly name bears, we must be associated with the NAME and the WORD. Will your name be found? Hear Jesus calling you in the words of Revelation 3:20, ” Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” His words are not a catchy phrase from a famous playwright, they are the WORDS of LIFE.