The Importance of a Name

Here’s an amazing revelation of the sovereignty of God. There are ten patriarchs listed as living before the Flood. Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalelel, Jared, Enoch, Methusaleh, Lamech, and Noah. Some of the meanings of the names is not perfectly clear (like so much of the Bible), but many scholars think that they could have the following meanings.

Adam – Man
Seth – Appointed
Enosh – Mortal
Kenan – Sorrow
Mahalelel – Blessed God
Jared – Shall come down
Enoch – Teaching
Methusaleh – His death shall bring
Lamech – Despairing
Noah – Comfort and rest

Genesis 5 takes the opportunity to list this genealogy in great detail and all together. If you put the meanings of these names into a sentence, it looks like we have the message of the gospel:

Man is appointed mortal sorrow. The Blessed God shall come down teaching. His death shall bring the despairing comfort and rest.

I don’t think this is a stretch at all. God, in His amazing ways that are higher than our own, constantly proclaims the good news. Each of those ten men had no clue their individual role in the story, and they may have often questioned their name and life, but they placed their faith in the Living God and followed Him in spite of their not knowing.

We must do the same. We may at times doubt the goodness of God because of the circumstances we face, but He is always and infinitely good. He simply has the big picture; we do not. Faith is trusting God’s goodness and love no matter what life deals us. It is believing in that Unseen Love even when what is seen appears unloving.

HT: Sy Rogers – speaking on 11 June 2009 at the University of the Nations.

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