Have you ever wished you had another name? When I was a kid, I did. The biggest problem with the name Bruce is that there are too many words that rhyme with it. Goose, moose, juice, loose. It’s almost endless. It makes you an easy target to get teased. Kids can be pretty creative, especially when it comes to teasing other kids.
I remember hearing a story James Dobson (the famous Christian psychologist) told of naming his daughter Danae. He and his wife specifically chose a name that they felt couldn’t be twisted by other kids. Their attempt failed miserably. Other kids called their daughter “Decay.”
But anyway, the Israelites also were called names. When they were taken into exile people called them “Deserted,” and “Desolate,” a people rejected by God.
But here God says,
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. 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. (1-2)
A new name. What would God call them? God said,
No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married. (4)
The name Hephzibah literally means, “My delight is in her,” while Beulah means “married.” And so God says to Israel, “While you feel deserted by me, and left desolate, the time is coming when I will once again delight in you, and you will be my beloved bride.”
Then he said,
Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.’ They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted. (11-12)
He told Israel, “No longer will you be called the city that was deserted by me. Rather, you will be called ‘God’s Holy people,’ ‘The Redeemed of the Lord,’ and ‘The Ones Sought after.'”
God’s Holy People. Holy basically means “to be set apart.” We are a people who are set apart for God. In other words, we are special to him and precious in his sight.
The Redeemed of the Lord. Redeemed means “to be bought back.” God created us and so we belonged to him. But then we sold ourselves as slaves to sin and to the kingdom of Satan. But God loved us so much that he redeemed us. He bought us back with the blood of Jesus, shed on the cross.
The Ones Sought After. God didn’t just forget about us after we fell into sin. Rather, he sought after us as a shepherd seeks after a lost sheep. Jesus said that if a a shepherd had one sheep that was lost, he would leave behind the other 99 in the pen, and seek for the one that had gone astray. And he does the same with us. That’s how much he loves us.
Do you feel deserted by God? Desolate? Rejected? God has new names just for you. “The one he sought after.” “The one he gave his life to redeem.” “The one who is precious in his eyes and is set apart for him.” “His beloved bride.” “His delight.” Those are the names God gives to all those who belong to him.
If you’re a Christian, don’t believe the lies Satan would tell you about yourself. That God hates you. That he has abandoned you. He has given you a new name. He has given you many new names. Think about them. Meditate on them. And rest in the love of God.
If you’re not a Christian, know that God is seeking you. And no matter who you are, or what you’re called, he has a new name for you. All you have to do is turn to him. It’s as easy as a prayer.
Lord, you said that you are seeking me. That Jesus gave his life on a cross to redeem me. Thank you. Lord forgive me my sins, and cleanse me. Come into my life and make me your beloved bride. Your delight. Reveal yourself to me more and more each day. In Jesus name, amen.