Naming is a creative power! Of superhero proportions!
Father granted the powerful ability to Adam to create in His image by the use of his words to name creatures. The name of the creatures helped determine the outplay of their features.
One man in Scripture has captured my attention for years. Jeroboam. More on him as time unfolds. For now, suffice it to say that he received the same promise that David did from the same source–Father. David received the eternal dynasty, and as amazing as it sounds for Father to grant two eternal dynasties in the same nation, He did. And the other man chosen was Jeroboam. However, Jeroboam did not have the same outcome as David. In fact, Jeroboam created such evil in the nation of Israel that his singular actions resulted in Northern Israel’s deportation to Assyria (from which they have NEVER fully returned). That’s a lot of badness for one guy. The same guy who was offered the same dynasty promise as David.
Jeroboam created evil in Israel.
I’ve looked at this from so many angles, but recently I noticed Jeroboam’s name means, “the people will contend.”
Jeroboam grew up with daily reinforcement from the creative power of words that people would contend with him–and this in the face of his being raised by a single mom. No dad, no male back-up support system, with a name that guaranteed trouble from people.
When we look at his story, that’s what caused his fatal flaw–believing the people would contend with him and leave him with no dynasty. And that belief (reinforced daily when his name was spoken) launched him into a series of very bad choices which cost him and his family their lives, and his nation their land and inheritance–for hundreds of generations.
Names matter. They create or destroy.
With this in mind, I’d like to offer a strategy below, excerpted from Perfect Peace.
What’s in a name? A lot more than we think! God honored Adam by allowing him to name the animals. The Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:19, KJV: “The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” In eternity, we will receive a new name and so will the Lord Jesus Christ!
Iniquity attaches shame and defilement to names. Righteousness attaches honor and blessing to names. After high-ranking officer Benedict Arnold committed treason against General George Washington during the Revolutionary War in the United States, his name became synonymous with “traitor.” People did not name their children after him. On the other hand, the valor, courage, and leadership of General George Washington saw many people naming their children in honor of him—a great honor since he had no children of his own. In the historical context, Caleb means “dog.” Yet, Caleb, of Promised Land fame in the Bible, redefined the name through the integrity of his life to mean “faithful, courageous.”
The Jewish people understand the importance of names. In fact, due to their intensive emphasis on names in ancient times, they believed that to know a name provided a level of control over that person. This may be the reason God delayed revelation of His Names. Jewish parents still give careful reflection and thought to the names they choose for their children. To them, a name reflects the character and destiny of a person. They are right; it does! (Naming the creature determines its (or his or her) features.)
It is a tremendous honor from God to have the opportunity to define your child’s life through their name. In the child’s name, as well as the family surname which you pass on, he or she receives an inheritance. Defilement can be passed on through names according to Isaiah 65:15: “You will leave your name to My chosen ones as a curse; the Sovereign LORD will put you to death, but to His servants, He will give another name.” On the other hand, we understand from Proverbs 22:1: “A good name is more desirable than great riches.”
The power of life and death is in the tongue. Since we are made in God’s image, we, too, speak things into existence through the sound of our words. Think how many times over the course of our lives that our names are spoken. Our character and destiny are spoken into being, and reinforced, each time someone says our name.
One woman who received a family surname as her first name experienced a significant internal shift (like a haze being removed) which affected several areas of her life over the next few years after her husband prayed to cleanse her name. After praying through her name, another lady who had been named after a physical place, received a huge spiritual release. It was similar to a knot being untied.
For your reference, here is a prayer some have employed to cleanse their names. Feel free to adjust the language as the Holy Spirit guides you.
Name Cleansing/Releasing Prayer:
“Father, I lift up to You my first name __________________, middle name __________________, and last name ________________________. I want to walk in righteousness. I know that many who held these names did not walk with You in righteousness. I confess and repent for myself and others who held my names for breaking all Your righteous decrees and teaching others to do the same. Please forgive us and wipe the record clean. Now, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I ask that You would personally sever all assignments, curses, judgments, and unholy ties, triggers, deceptions, and destructions attached to these names. I agree with You and sever these by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony. Please cleanse my names with Your Blood and seal them with Your Spirit. Please loose the righteous deposits that are in my names and cause me to walk with You so I can bring honor to Your Name and to mine. Please release my name into the fullness of the blessing You intended. I receive and bless the righteous meaning of my name, calling forth its fullness on earth as it is in heaven. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.”
(excerpt from Appendix C Names in Perfect Peace by Crystal Wade, copyright 2010)