When… You Are Ashamed
“You shall no more be called ‘Forsaken’ and your land shall not more be found ‘Desolate’; but you shall be called ‘My Delight is in her,’” Isaiah 62:4
“They shall be called, ‘The Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD’ and you shall be called, ‘Sought out, a City not forsaken.’” Isaiah 62:12
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” I was taught that rhyme when I was growing up. But I must say “nice idea, but not so true.” My experience has been the wounding power of words and names. There are people who are masters at using words which hurt. I remember a guy in school who could create names which stuck on people like toxic super glue. Which others then picked up like a chorus of shameful accusations.
But God is into giving new names. God is capable of redefining us. Israel had been a people carried away into exile. They were victims of a violent takeover. They were displaced from their lands. The Temple was destroyed. Their God appeared unable to preserve and protect them. “Forsaken.” “Desolate.” But they were returned to the land in the same way as God brought them through the wilderness into the promised land in the event called the Exodus. This time they came back from the east, from Babylon.
“No more ‘Forsaken,’ no longer ‘Desolate’ was to be their name. Now Hephzibah—“My Delight is in you.”
I am reminded of the promise we receive in the Book of Revelation: “to everyone who overcomes (by God’s Grace) I will give some of the hidden manna and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.” (Revelation 2:17) I can image God whispering that beloved name in my ear. And that name defines me, redeems me, strengthens and protects me. “Beloved in the LORD.” “Child of God.” “Mine.”
The name God gives us is so much more than the ones others want to lay on us, the ones filled with shame and disgrace. God will give us new names! When words hurt… Listen to God!