Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Holy Name Calling! What Did I Name My Children?

The Minor Prophets Speak to Today

Holy Name Calling

Hosea 1:3-5


Holy Name Calling! Our Accidental Names Turned Out To Be Purposeful

The baby's coming. What shall we name him or her? That's a dilemma most parenting couples face.

My wife and I did. We were lucky. We didn't have any bossy family members pushing for this name or that and threatening to disown us and the baby if we did not comply.

But God pulled a fast one on us -- at least with the first two children.

We wanted our oldest child named after a dear friend. His name was Don -- so Dawn or Don. Then we set out to find a good second name. I can't remember what our choice was for a boy. We had a girl. But I do remember I was in training at Biloxi, Mississippi. We loved driving out through the countryside and walking in the woods. One day on the way home we drove past a sign that said Christie Ponies and that was is it! Kristi. Kristi Dawn, to be called Dawn. Really spiritual huh!

Our second child was born in England, as was our third. I wanted to name him after my best friend in college -- so Robert. Then we liked American Indian names and nature names. If I remember right there were no lightening bolts from the sky -- just book after book of baby names. In reading I came upon the Indian name Cato -- pronounced shadow, which was a name we had been considering but didn't want to spell the normal way. So he became Robert Shadto (again I cannot remember the girls name).

Sadly, Shad was born early and breech. Treatments were not as advanced as now, so when he developed Hyaline Membrane Disease, his heart gave out and he died. A shadow indeed.

Soon, baby number three was on his way. Back to the books! We settled on Kristin Dale -- no special relationships or meaning. Then we took a ten year hiatus with no births.

During that interim, God worked a miracle in my life and returned me to his fold. It was one of those true transformations. And then one day he sent us a surprise -- another baby boy.

By now we had a pattern going -- first name begins with "k", second name begins with "d". Also we wanted a name with spiritual meaning.

You see the first three had turned out to mean - Christ's Rising or Christ's New Day, Strong Dark Shadto or alternatively Strong Dark Warrior (Shad had been both), and Christ's Peaceful Valley.

God had pulled a fast one on us - our children had names that described our lives and our children's lives.

So boy number three, with all full intentions, was named Kory Drew meaning "he has drawn me into the hallow of his sheltering hand." And again it proved prophetic.

Then along came surprise number two (yes, we know where babies come from ! God!!) and she is named Kari Danielle. We struggled to come up with her name. There was no nature reference as in the other three. Nothing seemed right. Kari meant carol or song of God. Danielle it turns out means strong judgment -- God's song of strong judgment. I must admit I was a little nervous about the name. But again it has certainly contained prophetic applications.

God's Pattern In History

In history, God has often used names to carry his message. Our situation is not unusual.

Hosea was not only called to marry a prostitute, God directly gave him his children's name and each was a word of prophecy to his own nation. Wow! Could we accept that today?

Even more incredible, the names God presented mirrored the circumstances of their birth and their mother's fidelity -- or lack thereof -- to her husband.

The first child, born of faithfulness, spoke of God's faithfulness to avenge for wrong doing even though it looked like that avenging would never come. While God's love, like Hosea's, was unconditional, the enjoyment of that love is conditional.

The second child, born in lovelessness, identified the nation's basic problem, they no longer loved their God, in heart and in action.

The third child, born of another man (prostitution), is simply named not my people. Not only was this child not Hosea's lineage, but God was declaring to the nation that he was divorcing them -- they were no longer his people. They had withdrawn from him and he was taking action which severed his love relationship with them.

Throughout scripture, God affirms his role in child bearing and even name selection. 

What level of involvement do you allow God?

Could we accept such strong parabolic messenges from God today?

In what ways are we like God's people of Hosea's day?

Are we really going to heed this warning from scripture? If so, how?


Photo Credits:
Family Photo courtesy of my daughter-in-law
Great Grandfather and Child by Wayne Anson

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