ODJ: what’s in a name?

January 23, 2015 

READ: 2 Samuel 23:8-39 

The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him (2 Chronicles 16:9).

I enjoy reading lists of names in the Bible. In the past they seemed pointless to me. In fact I would skim over them to get to the ‘meaty’ stuff in the passage. One day, however, I realised that all those names were there for a reason. God had selected individuals and involved them by name in His Word. What an honour when your name was chosen for positive reasons!

David’s “mighty warriors” are listed in 2 Samuel 23. The first few have some description given about their heroic acts, but the bulk of the characters have only their names mentioned (vv.24-39). Even though their deeds aren’t described, we can infer that these men were also worthy of praise and renown. Some names are mentioned in the Bible as a means of presenting how not to behave, or as bywords for evil. But not these men. They were by no means flawless, but God chose them to be found in His Word and to be remembered forever.

Not all of us are going to be mighty warriors in a military sense. Most of us can’t in any way be described as men or women of renown. Thankfully, God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). He’s looking for people who are wholly devoted to Him—individuals who will wholeheartedly serve Him, no matter the cost. “The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

Today, God still remembers those who decide, like David’s mighty men, to go to any length with whatever gifts He’s given them, to do their King’s will, and fulfil His purposes on earth. As I read lists of names in the Bible now, I pray that I’ll also one day have a name that is worthy of remembering—to God’s glory! —Russell Fralick

365-day plan› Genesis 40:1-23

Scan the names found in Hebrews 11:4-32 and consider why God included them in His Word. 
How has God equipped you to serve Him? If you don’t know, spend some time asking Him to show you. If you do know, how will you dedicate yourself to serving Him more fully?