What is in a Name?
When Jabez’s mother went into labour and she was in great anguish. The pain was so much that she fainted and was dying. The nurses around encouraged her to hold on but they thought they were losing her so they comforted her and tried to get a name for the child they knew will survive, probably without a mother.
“Give a name to your son “
She mustered the last ounce of strength in her and spluttered: “ Jabez!”
This meant, “ Born in Pain ( harbinger of sorrow)”
As the boy grew up to answer to this sorrowful name, it marked his life. He was always causing sorrow wherever he went.
People noticed that whenever he showed up, trouble turned up; trouble loomed. He was like a ticking time bomb. He also noticed that people avoided him. When they saw him coming from afar they dodged or changed lanes. If he visited you, your house may catch fire. If you gave him a lift, you either got a parking ticket or had an accident.
There came a time Jabez became fed up. And he prayed a ‘dangerous prayer’:
9 Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.”10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.
It was a short prayer but sincere and heart-felt and all-encompassing and God granted him his request. I believe he changed his name from then on because his name was his waterloo.
Abram to Abraham
This was why God had to change Abram’s name to father of many nation- Abraham. And Sarai to mother of nations. And once they agreed with Him, their miracle was only a matter of time.
5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.
15 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.
In the fullness of time they were blessed with Laughter- Isaac -in their old age. And Isaac begat Jacob, who was the Father of the 12 tribes of Israel and through whom all the families of the earth have been blessed.
Even Jacob was wrongly named and behaved true to his name. His name meant cheat, con man, swindler, wheeler and dealer, and so he was until he met with God, Who changed his name to Prince with God.
God knew his problem was his name, hence the question: ‘What is your name?’
24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him.26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”
But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”
27 So He said to him, “What is your name?”
He said, “Jacob.”
28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.”
And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”31 Just as he crossed over Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip.32 Therefore to this day the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank, which is on the hip socket, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the muscle that shrank.
Saul changed to Paul
Saul of Tarsus was a persecutor of the Church. He was the greatest enemy of the Church. But one day God turned him around and made him a trophy and greatest asset of the Church. He changed his name from Saul to Paul who wrote thirteen best sellers of all time and brought the revelation of who we are in Christ and what we have in Him.
Simon to Peter
Simon was also named Peter – the rock- and this characterized his life after the resurrection of Jesus. The disciple who was unreliable and flaky became strong in faith and was the leader of the other disciples. He made his mark on the Day of Pentecost and was powerful in his preaching and was mightily used to bring many to Christ. On the day of Pentecost he preached so powerfully and about three thousand gave their lives to Christ.
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 ‘ And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.
21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the LORD
Shall be saved.’
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know —23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.25 For David says concerning Him:
‘ I foresaw the LORD always before my face,
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;
Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’
29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:
‘ The LORD said to my Lord,
” Sit at My right hand,
35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ‘
36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Acts 2:14-42
When he and John encountered a man lame from birth, he was not ashamed of the gospel.
Peter said, “Look at us.”5 So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.6 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”7 And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.8 So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them — walking, leaping, and praising God.9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God.
He and others were bold to withstand persecution. Did not deny Jesus like he did before.
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well,10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,16 saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.17 But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”
Later we see healing anointing oozing out of him such that even his shadow was enough to heal people.
14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
What is in a name? Everything.
Let us look at some names and their meaning and be instructed in this matter.
Powerful & meaningful
Wealth from God-Akuchi-
God is King-Chibueze
God is good-Chidimma
Hand of God-Akachi
God is beautiful-Chiamaka
God is strength-Chibuike
God holds my life-Chijindum
God is the greatest-Chika
All Praise to God-Ekenedilichukwu
God has done great-Chukwuemeka
God is Good-Tamunoibim
Born into Wealth-Alaye
God first-Oghenekaro- WA-
Born into wealth-Afolabi–
Born into royalty-Abioye
Crown meets joy-Adebayo
Crown has met wealth-Adebayo
Born into wealth-Afolabi
Joy has come home-Ayodele
Joy has returned-Ayotunde
Sorrow becomes joy-Ekundayo
No so good/meaningless
Born feet first- Ige
Blessing-Dalitso-South Africa –Chewa
Leader of the nation-Melisizwe-SA-Xhosa
Test from God-Mayeso- SA-Chewa
Girl again-Ntombifuthi-SA-Zulu Jeff Kubina on
Met with misery(like Jabez)-Gwandoya- -Ganda