His daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and near the time of delivery. When she heard the news that the ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth, but was overcome by her labor pains. As she was dying, the women attending her said, “Don’t despair; you have given birth to a son.” But she did not respond or pay any attention.
She named the boy Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel”–because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. She said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.” – 1 Samuel 4:19-22 (NIV)
Names are very important in the Bible. They carried meaning and purpose, defining ancestry or foretelling hope. Names could be an anchor, holding someone in place during a storm or a rudder, guiding them through treacherous waters. That’s why Ichabod’s name is so tragic. Instead of having a name to live up to, he has a name to live down. Admittedly, Israel was in dire straits at the time, but should your son’s name have to represent the worst of things?
Through Christ, we have some different names, names worth living up to. He calls us beloved, redeemed, co-heirs and ambassadors. He calls us His. The question we need to ask is do we not only live up to those names, but do we treat our children like those names belong to them? Are we helping them root their identity in what God calls them instead of what the world calls them? The names we give our children have meaning. They may have belonged to a relative or link back to ethnic roots, but the names God gives us, and our children, were purchased by the blood of His Son.
I hope I can teach my daughters what being beloved means. I want them to understand in the depths of their souls the power and peace that comes with being the redeemed. They need to soak in the truth that they are co-heirs with the one who saved them. They need to carry the name that gives them all of their names into the world as ambassadors. This reminds me and convicts me to be cautious what I call my child. It is easy to let things like brat, snot or goofball come out, contradicting my child’s identity as one of God’s beloved.
Lord, help me to treat with respect the names You have given to my children. Let me help them understand their identity in You. May I honor You by honoring them. Amen.