We have the book 100,000+ Baby Names lying around the house. When people come to our house, they pick out names and tell the Gallaghers, “Hey you should name your kid Apple,” or “How does Audio Science Gallagher sound?” (real Celeb baby names by the way!) We all want to name our kids something that sounds good with our last name, is respectable or catchy, but in the Bible names carry a lot more weight than our culture. Names in the Bible often describe something about a person’s character or their purpose in life. Many times God changes peoples’ names to reflect how they’ve changed or how he will work through them (ex: God changes Jacob’s name meaning supplanter, cheater to Israel meaning prince with God).
There are many names for God in scripture which also reveal a lot about His character. One of the names he calls himself in Gen 22:14 is Jehova-jireh The Lord Will Provide. This name comes up when Abraham is preparing to sacrifice his only son Isaac. He has him tied to an altar with the wood arranged and his knife raised when an angel calls to him, “Do not hurt the boy in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God…Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering on the altar in place of his son. Abraham named the place ‘The Lord Will Provide’.” As Keith has been discussing in Love Ethics, God is significant because he provides good. He also jealously guards His significance in our lives. In other words God determined, “I must be and I will be significant to you!” (Ex 34:14). God is significant because He loves and is Himself the epitome of love. Someday all living creatures will realize his significance
“…the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.’ And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, i heard saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.’” (Rev 5:11-13)
Satan has another approach to obtaining significance, which is the opposite of God’s way. This is a self-made significance that is actually a deception and not real significance at all. When Satan rebelled against God he determined to be significant in his own way through demanding and destroying others. Satan said to himself, “I WILL ascend to heaven, I WILL raise my throne above the stars of God, and I WILL sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north…I WILL make myself like the most high.” (Is 14:12-14) Satan’s counterfeit significance comes from pride and hate which leads to depravity (Rom 3:12). Depravity literally means empty or worthless.
There are 2 instances in Genesis that illustrate the 2 ways to try to gain significance.
The Tower of Babel
“They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Gen11:3-4)
The people of Babel wanted to gain significance and importance by “making a name” for themselves. God saw that this project was direct rebellion against Him, and interestingly the leader of the construction project was Nimrod, whose name actually means “to rebel”. They built this city in direct rebellion to God’s command to spread out and fill the earth (9:1, 11:4) and the tower was built to worship their gods. By”making a name for themselves” they were demanding the significance they felt the deserved based on their accomplishments and pride. This is based on Satan’s useless, counterfeit form of significance.
Abraham, on the other hand received significance from God who promised him that HE would make Abraham’s name great (Gen 12:2). All he did was humbly obey God’s command to leave his people and go where God led him, and God promised to bless Abraham and his family and to make his name great.
“The way of highest significance in life lies not in acquiring security and self-made prestige. As with Abraham, significance lies in being a blessing to the nations.” (p4, Perspectives Study Guide)
The Abrahamic Covenant
Abraham was significant not because of his own accomplishments, but because of imputed significance, given to him by God. God didn’t bless Abraham so he could go around bragging, “Look at me! I’m so blessed by God! I’m so significant!” God blessed Abraham so that he could be a blessing to the rest of the world. In the same way, God gives us blessings such as forgiveness, access to relationship with him, and spiritual blessings so that we can share His love with others. In Love Ethics we learned that the only way to actually love God is through loving other people. This is because God gives us blessings in order for us to bless others. When we turn around and love other people and their lives are changed, God receives the glory. God’s desire is that all worship will come to him from every nation. When we take the significance God has given to us, and use that to love other, in the end God will receive the glory that He deserves when all creatures cry out, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!” It really does bring us the most ultimate form of significance to be involved in bringing glory to the God of the Universe and being used to establish his eternal kingdom forever in heaven.