A little over 14 years ago, my husband and I welcomed our first child into this world. Like many parents expecting their first child, we read all the development books, took pictures to track a growing belly, and had endless debates about what to name our baby. My husband took the approach of proposing the most ridiculous names so that when he mentioned a reasonable one, I would totally go for it. Joking aside, we did want our son’s name to honor our family.
After our 20-week ultrasound, we found out that we were having a boy. We went back and forth over names before finally deciding on Daniel Edward after both of his living great-grandfathers. Not only did we like our family names, but we knew the names would honor them both. Once our decision was made, we announced his name as a Christmas present to our grandfathers, which was lots of fun.
In biblical times, naming was a big deal. A name carried with it implications about a person’s very being and character. Thus, when we read about the priests in Malachi 1:6-2:3 this week, who are profaning the name of God, we understand that in doing so they were defaming God’s character.
- Take a moment to read through Malachi 1:6-2:6 and 3:16-4:3 and underline each time you see the words “my name” or “his name.”
- What things do you learn about the name of the Lord?
As we look through the whole book of Malachi, we repeatedly see a contrast between the priests who didn’t fear God’s name and those who did.
- Re-read Malachi 3:16-4:3 and circle each time you see the word “fear.”
- What did you learn from Malachi about those who fear the name of the Lord?
- What does it mean to fear the name of the Lord (cross reference Deuteronomy 28:58-59 and Psalms 33:18-21)?
- What are some ways that you fear the name of the Lord in your life?
Our God has many names, and He uses them to remind His people about who He is. In Malachi, God refers to Himself as Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of hosts. Jehovah is translated “The Existent One” or “Lord,” and Sabaoth means “armies” or “host.”
- Twenty-five times in this short book, God is referred to as the Lord of hosts. Why might God be choosing to use this name with the people in Malachi?
- How would the name of “the Lord of hosts” bring challenge and encouragement to His people?
Just like naming our son was honoring the name of our grandfathers, so we are called to honor the name of our God with our words and actions.
- How might you honor the name of our God today?
Dear Lord, We praise Your name as the existent One who was, and is, and is to come. We confess that so often we defame Your name with our words and actions. Like the priests in Malachi’s day, we don’t give You our best. We complain, and we question You. Forgive us and help us to instead become accurate reflections of Your name to those around us for Your glory. Amen.
— Jamie Harms