Saturday, April 22, 2017

Naming Sons

Joseph and Moses both named their sons according to what they themselves had experienced in life. It was a monument for what God had done or was doing in their lives. Most God's servants had to overcome incredible odds, no less Joseph and Moses. Joseph was left for dead in the pit by his own brothers and when he was in Egypt he was cast into a dungeon on a false accusation. Yet he rose to be Pharoah's father and ruled over Egypt for 80 years and saved nations and his entire family during a severe famine. The infant Moses was subject to a death edict for all Hebrew boys but he was kept alive in a basket floated down the river and was brought up by Pharaoh's daughter. Even then for 40 years Moses had to run away as a fugitive and suffered the wrath of Pharaoh and the ignominy of his people's rejection. Moses at 80 years old was later sent back to Egypt to deliver Israel out of the bondage of slavery into the promised land. No wonder in their deepest struggles, crises and triumphs when given sons, Joseph and Moses named their sons to commemorate what God had done in their lives.
Joseph called Manasseh his firstborn "God made to forget all my difficulties and my father's house". And he named his second, Ephraim "I had gotten a son in my afflictions" (Gen 41:51-52). Moses on the other hand, at the beginning of his exile, named his first born, "Gershom" which means "I have been a stranger in a foreign land." (Exod 2:22). Recently, my son texted me from New Zealand and asked me why I named him, "Cyrus". I said, "Read end of Isaiah 44 and beginning of 45". Isaiah 44:28-45:1 "That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;" When my son was born, I was two years away from giving up my legal practice and pursuing theological study as it was my hope to be a pastor, "He is my shepherd" as the Lord says of Cyrus. I also hoped that for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, salvation of the Jews and the building up of the Lord's Church as a whole. I had named my son as a window to the future, for God's people to be built up and my own calling in it. And most of what I see of "King Cyrus's decree" as far as my life and ministry is concerned still lies in the future.

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