The Man Who Changed the Meaning of His Name

I once had a friend who said that if he had boys he was going to name them “Thunder” and “Lightning.” I’m not sure how the story came out but I strongly suspect that his wife had the last word if they had boys.

But, names do mean something. Johnny Cash wailed about a Boy Name Sue in one of his songs. That named caused innumerable fights for the unfortunate young man.

How does this name grab you? “Caleb.”

I love that name. When I hear it I think, “manly, strong, brave, leader, Godly, faith-filled, persistent.” The man in the Bible who carried this name showed all these characteristics and more. He was one of the great men of God.

You know what his name meant originally? “Dog!”

Now, some say it might be translated as “wholehearted.” But, if the first translation is right, what kind of people would name their son “dog?” That’s worse than Sue.

I suspect the “wholehearted” translation is closer to reality but just suppose that “dog” was the real translation. You never think of that when you think of Caleb.

You think of that courageous warrior who was still leading armies to kill giants in his old age. Caleb changed the meaning of his name. When we hear Caleb we think of what the great leader was and we want our boys to be like that.

Think about it. He may very well have changed the sense of his name.

Maybe you don’t like your name or there may be a blemish attached to your family history. You may have stained your name, yourself.

You can change the meaning of your name. Let God live through you. From now on, live in the power of his Spirit—let his character and his courage shine through you.

Just like Caleb may have changed the meaning of his name, when people think of you they will think of what you are in Christ-Jesus. You can change the meaning of your name.

“The nations will see your righteousness,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.

“You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
Isaiah 62: 2, 3

Humm …
“Change is not easy. But it is simple. Things will always change. We don’t have a choice about that, but we do have a choice on how we react to change; and as a leader whether or not we choose to create change. The choice really boils down to this…either we manage change, or it will manage us.”  Terry Hoggard

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