Wednesday

and makes it renowned throughout the earth.” (vv. 6-7)

Isaiah 62:1-12 Wednesday 28 February 2018

Psalm: Psalm 25


Background

What’s in a name? Quite a lot, actually. People agonise over what name to give their child – how whatever they choose might be received in future playgrounds, pubs or places of work. Names can change over time – with the addition of a title, a change of surname through marriage or the melding of families. A friend of mine changed her surname a couple of years ago. She didn’t want to be defined anymore by the man to whom she was no longer married, nor by the man who fathered her – no matter how much she loved him. Instead, she chose a name for herself, a name that she liked and felt reflected more fully how she wished to be known. Thus began for her a new chapter in life.

In today’s passage, God declares a new name for people: “My Delight Is In Her”, and a new name for their land: “Married” (v. 4). Later in the passage, he adds even more names: “The Holy People”, “The Redeemed of the LORD”, “Sought Out”, “A City Not Forsaken” (v. 12). As for my friend, these names were to mark a new chapter for the people of Israel. They indicated an opportunity to shrug off the negative labels given them by their enemies (“Forsaken”, “Desolate” (v. 4)) and claim for themselves a truer identity. This new identity, held and determined by their creator, was definitive and could not be disputed, for it spoke of ‘marriage’ – the renewed and everlasting covenant between God and the people who God had chosen that we found in yesterday’s passage.

It’s interesting, though, that renaming happens at the start of the redemptive process for Israel, not at its culmination. For in verses 6 and 7 we hear of sentinels posted upon the walls of the city, whose job is to “remind” God of the promises God had made: “take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it renowned throughout the earth.” In the Gospels, Simon receives his new name (“Peter”, John 1:42) long before he ever becomes his namesake - the rock on which Christ’s Church is to be built. In fact, he falls and fails many times (eg Luke 22:54-62) before the truth of his new name is seen.


To Ponder

  • What is the meaning of your given name? If you could choose a new one for yourself, what would it be?
  • What might it take for you to begin a new chapter in your life?
  • Does God ‘forget’ things? Do you ever feel like God needs reminding of a promise made to you?
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